What is an influenza pandemic?
An influenza pandemic is a global outbreak of flu. There are 3 characteristics that distinguish a flu pandemic from the seasonal flu outbreaks that occur every year.
  • The pandemic is caused by a new strain of flu virus to which people have no immunity.
  • The virus is spread easily from person to person.
  • The virus is capable of causing severe illness and many deaths.

Flu pandemics tend to arrive with very little warning. This new virus may be a combination of viruses that have not circulated among people for a long time.

Most people will have no natural protection or immunity from the new virus. Because of this, the new virus is especially dangerous, and could lead to high rates of illness and death.

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1. What is an influenza pandemic?
2. What’s the difference between pandemic influenza and seasonal influenza?