A pandemic is a global outbreak of disease. An influenza pandemic happens when a new strain of the flu virus appears for which people have little or no immunity. As a result, it spreads easily from person to person around the world, causing widespread illness and death. Get the facts about flu pandemics.


Individuals, families, caregivers, healthcare workers, and teachers can all take steps now to get ready for a flu pandemic before it happens.

Unlike a flu pandemic, seasonal flu is a flu strain that we know will circulate from November through March. It causes symptoms like fever, cough, sore throat, and muscle aches. Every year, between 5 and 20 percent of Americans come down with the flu. Most healthy people get better from seasonal flu sickness without lasting effects, but it can be deadly. However, seasonal flu kills more than 36,000 people and puts 200,000 more in the hospital every year in the U.S(See Number 3 in References). Plan now for a flu pandemic.

What Can History Teach Us?
Read about the recent history of flu pandemic and what we can learn from it.

How Can You Protect Yourself?
Learn different ways you can protect yourself during a flu pandemic.

What Would a Pandemic Be Like?
Read about the possible impact of a flu pandemic on your community.

Need Answers About a Flu Pandemic?
Browse the flu pandemic FAQ for quick answers to questions about flu pandemics.