Influenza Planning and Response

Influenza poses one of the world’s greatest infectious disease challenges. CDC programs protect the United States from seasonal influenza, as well as pandemic influenza which occurs when a new flu virus emerges that can infect people and spread globally.

Novel influenza viruses are always emerging
 Most influenza viruses spread among animals more than among people, especially wild birds and pigs.
 A few of these animal influenza viruses can change to cause illness in people, and in rare cases, may cause a pandemic.
 People may have little or no immunity to novel
influenza so the consequences can be much greater.

Animal influenza viruses can spread to people

CDC | NCIRD | Influenza Planning and Response

What CDC does to protect Americans from influenza threats
CDC uses its scientific expertise and resources to address the continuing threat posed by seasonal and pandemic influenza. Key CDC activities that protect people against both seasonal and pandemic influenza include:

Monitoring influenza viruses 24-7 Supporting vaccine development

Works with domestic and global public health partners to monitor both human and animal influenza viruses to know what viruses are spreading and where, and what kind of illness they are causing. Much of the COVID-19 surveillance was built on influenza surveillance.

Studying influenza viruses in the laboratory
Studies both human and animal influenza viruses in the laboratory to better understand the characteristics of these viruses, including conducting genetic sequencing on between 4,000 and 7,000 viruses each year.

Improving testing and diagnostic tools

Develops and distributes tests and supplies materials to state, local, territorial, and international laboratories so they can detect and characterize influenza viruses.

Supports state and local governments in preparing for the next influenza pandemic, including planning and leading pandemic exercises across all levels of government. CDC works with the World Health Organization and partner countries in pandemic planning efforts. Domestically, CDC supports the development and use of community mitigation measures and medical countermeasures to minimize the impact of a pandemic.

Participates with other global and domestic experts to choose which viruses to include in seasonal vaccine production for each year’s vaccine and guides prioritization of pandemic vaccine development. CDC develops candidate vaccine viruses used by manufacturers to make flu vaccines. CDC tracks and monitors seasonal influenza vaccine distribution.

Funding and technical assistance
Provides direct support to state, local, and territorial public health departments for influenza surveillance and
laboratory work. Globally, CDC supports more than 50 countries to build surveillance and laboratory capacity to find emerging influenza threats and respond to them.
An interactive map with additional details of our domestic investments in states is available at

Evaluates the effectiveness of vaccines and drugs and continuously updates recommendations. CDC’s work to improve vaccine effectiveness is a key part of the U.S. Government’s National Influenza Vaccine Modernization Strategy.
Providing timely and accurate information
Informs health care providers and the public about influenza prevention and control measures. CDC works with businesses, schools, communities, and others to plan for and address influenza threats.

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