Community Interventions for Infection Control

Who We Are

alt="CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report for April 2017 included community mitigation guidelines for state, tribal, local, and territorial health departments to prevent pandemic flu."

The Community Interventions for Infection Control Unit (CI-ICU) in CDC’s Division of Global Migration and Quarantine is the home for science, policy, and communications related to nonpharmaceutical interventions (NPI) for infectious disease control. Apart from getting vaccinated and taking medicine, NPI are actions which people and communities can take to help slow the spread of pandemic influenza (flu) and other infectious illnesses. NPI also are known as community mitigation strategies.

What We Do

The mission of CI-ICU is to prevent and reduce the spread of infectious diseases in communities by empowering people and communities to take action based on evidence-based knowledge of NPI.

CI-ICU focuses its efforts on NPI science, guidance development, communication, policy, and partnerships. The unit conducts and coordinates NPI research; develops NPI guidance, communication, education, and training materials; and encourages the adoption of policies that support NPI recommendations.

Program in Action

Woman covering her nose and mouth with a tissue while sneezing

The unit has released updated prepandemic planning guidelines—Community Mitigation Guidelines to Prevent Pandemic Influenza—United States, 2017—and a Web-based training course—NPI 101: Introduction to NPIs for Pandemic Influenza—to help partners and stakeholders plan for and respond to flu pandemics by using NPI. Six supplemental prepandemic NPI planning guides for different audiences and a repository of NPI-related research articles published by CDC and other groups also are available at

How We Work Together

CI-ICU collaborates with partners and stakeholders to promote NPI implementation in key community settings, including schools, workplaces, and mass gatherings. The unit works with federal, state, and local government partners on intersectoral NPI policy issues and with education and business organizations on NPI research.

Why It’s Important

Day care worker helping a toddler wash his hands with soap and warm water

NPI will be our first line of defense to help slow the spread of pandemic flu, before a pandemic vaccine is available.

NPI that are recommended at all times include personal and environmental actions:

  • staying home when sick,
  • covering coughs and sneezes,
  • washing hands often, and
  • routinely cleaning frequently touched surfaces.

A yearly flu vaccine also is recommended.

School buses waiting to take children home. When a flu pandemic occurs, public health officials may recommend nonpharmaceutical interventions such as temporary school dismissal.

When a flu pandemic occurs, public health officials may recommend certain additional NPI. These additional actions may include social distancing measures, such as temporary school dismissals and mass gathering postponements, modifications, or cancellations. NPI are most effective when used together in a layered approach.

NPI are especially important in community settings where people are in close contact with one another, like schools, workplaces, and public events. Research has shown that NPI can help slow the spread of pandemic flu and other infectious diseases.

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