How to Prevent the Spread of Pandemic Flu

In advance of 2018 pandemic vaccine availability, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) plans to use stockpiled H7N9 vaccines as a priming dose for selected persons at high risk of complications from influenza and designated critical workforce groups. Nonpharmaceutical interventions, or NPI’s, are actions people and communities can take to help slow the spread of respiratory illnesses, like pandemic flu. Given that it may take months to create a vaccine specific to the 2018 influenza A(H7N9) pandemic, NPI’s will likely be the only prevention tools available during the early stages of a pandemic. CDC released community mitigation guidance for a severe to very severe pandemic as outlined in 2017 Community Mitigation Guidelines. CDC’s Traveler’s Health Branch issues Level 3 Travel Health Notices indicating nonessential travel should be avoided to affected areas in countries with recently confirmed H7N9 cases.

Non-phatmaceutical Interventions to Prevent the Spread of Pandemic Flu

  • Nonpharmaceutical Interventions are actions, apart from getting vaccinated and taking medicine, that people and communities can take to help slow the spread of illnesses like pandemic influenza (flu).
  • NPIs are also known as community mitigation strategies.
  • Everyone should take these everyday steps to protect their health and lessen the spread of this new virus:
    • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
    • While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them. If you are sick with flu-like illness, CDC recommends you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. (Your fever should be gone for 24 hours without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.
    • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. After using a tissue, throw it in the trash and wash your hands.
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
    • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like flu. Use an EPA-registered disinfectant. Read the label to make sure it states that EPA has approved the product for effectiveness against influenza A viruses.
    • Also, consider taking measures to reduce your potential exposure to the virus, like limiting social activities or large group gatherings.
    • Prepare for the possibility of staying home for an extended period of time and look for more guidance on this in the coming hours and days. CDC may recommend school closures, cancellation of mass gatherings and other measures to decrease community risk of transmission.

Communication Resources

Access communication, education and partner materials!