Influenza - Pandemic
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Influenza virus
A graphic of the microscopic H5N1 virus.

Influenza, also known as the flu, is a contagious disease that is caused by the influenza virus. It attacks the respiratory tract in humans (nose, throat, and lungs). The flu is different from a cold. Influenza usually comes on suddenly and may include these symptoms: fever, headache, tiredness (can be extreme), dry cough, sore throat, nasal congestion and body aches. These symptoms are usually referred to as "flu-like symptoms."

Influenza A viruses periodically cause worldwide epidemics, or pandemics, with high rates of illness and death. Unlike other public welfare emergencies, an influenza pandemic will impact on multiple communities across the United States and require swift and coordinated action and cooperation by all levels of government. Advanced planning for a large scale and widespread health emergency is required to optimize health care delivery during a pandemic. In addition, prevention and preparedness activities facilitate the response and recovery during and after an influenza pandemic.

17 Apr 13

Sample Q&A: The Disease

What is the history of influenza pandemics in the United States?
During the 20th century, novel influenza A virus subtypes caused four pandemics, all of which spread around the world within a year of being detected.
  • 1918-19, the "Spanish flu," [Influenza A, H1N1], caused the highest number of influenza deaths ever recorded and is widely considered to be one of the most vicious pandemics in history.  A worldwide phenomenon, it is estimated to have infected one third of the world's entire population, and eventually killed as many as 100 million people, 500,000 of those in the United States.  Influenza killed almost as many soldiers in 1918 as did enemy weapons.  Many people died within the first few days after infection, and others died of complications.  Nearly half of those who died were young, healthy adults.  Influenza A (H1N1) viruses still circulate today.
  • 1957-58, "Asian flu," [Influenza A, H2N2], caused about 70,000 deaths in the United States.  First identified in China in late February 1957, the Asian flu spread to the United States by June 1957.
  • 1968-69, "Hong Kong flu," [Influenza A, H3N2], caused about 34,000 deaths in the United States.  This virus was first detected in Hong Kong in early 1968 and spread to the United States later that year.  Influenza A (H3N2) viruses still circulate today.
  • 2009-10, "Swine Flu" [Influenza A, H1N1], in the spring of 2009, the first U.S. case of H1N1 was diagnosed and the U.S. government declared H1N1 a public health emergency.  CDC estimates that 43 to 89 million people contracted H1N1 between April 2009 and April 2010 with deaths estimated between 8,870 and 18,300.  In August of 2010 the World Health Organization (WHO) declared an end to the global H1N1 influenza pandemic.

Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP)
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Office of the Public Health Service Historian
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
A Guide for Individuals and Families
Recommendations of the Defense Health Board (DHB)
AFEB Select Subcommittee for DoD Pandemic Influenza Preparedness
Health & Human Services
Author: McGinn
DoD Instruction 6200.03
Department of Health & Human Services
U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration
US Department of Health and Human Services & US Department of Homeland Security
U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration
Global Influenza
Avian Influenza (Bird Flu)
Department of Health and Human Services - One-stop access to U.S. Government H1N1, avian and pandemic flu information
Pandemic Flu Watchboard
MILVAX Webcast by COL Wayne Hachey, 20 Jan 2010

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases explains the emergence and potential spread of new influenza viruses.

AFN: Chicken knows best when it comes to pandemic flu.
Chicken Knows Best Pandemic Flu
AFN: A chicken talks up Pandemic Flu.
Author(s): Fuller T, Gilbert M, Martin V, Cappelle J, Hosseini P, Njabo K, Abdel Aziz S, Xiao X, Daszak P, Smith T
Publication: Emerging Infectious Diseases
Subject: Disease
Influenza - Seasonal
Influenza - Pandemic
Author(s): Government Accountability Office
Publication: GAO-13-374T
Subject: Vaccine-General
Influenza - Seasonal
Influenza - Pandemic
Author(s): Kuster S, Coleman B, Raboud J, McNeil S, De Serres G, Gubbay J, Hatchette T, Katz K, Loeb M, Low D, Mazzulli T, Simor A, McGeer A, and on behalf of th
Publication: Emerging Infectious Diseases; Volume 19, Number 4—April 2013
Subject: Disease
Influenza - Pandemic
Influenza - H1N1
Author(s): Salmon D, Akhtar A, Mergler M, Vannice K, Izurieta H, Lee G, Vellozzi, Garman P, Cunningham F, Gellin B, Koh H, Lurie N, H1N1 Working Group
Publication: Pediatrics
Subject: Vaccine-Safety
Influenza - Pandemic
Influenza - H1N1