Sometimes a new strain of influenza virus emerges to which humans have no natural protection. If the new influenza virus is easily transmitted from person to person, it can result in serious disease affecting people worldwide. This is called an influenza pandemic. Influenza pandemics occurred in 1918, 1957 and 1968. The next influenza pandemic will occur when a new strain of influenza virus emerges that is easily transmitted from person to person.

Pandemic Planning

Pandemic Preparedness

Testing Methods

Recommended Reading

  • Barry JM. "The Great Influenza: The Epic Story of the Deadliest Plague in History." New York: Penguin Group, 2004.
  • Crosby AW. America's Forgotten Pandemic: The Influenza of 1918. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989.
  • Kolata, G. Flu: The Story of the Great Influenza Pandemic of 1918 and the Search for the Virus that Caused It. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1999.
  • IOM. The Threat of Pandemic Influenza: Are We Ready? Workshop Summary. Knobler SL, et al, eds. Institute of Medicine Forum on Microbial Threats Board on Global Health. Washington DC: The National Academies Press.

For up-to-date flu information and where to find a flu shot, please call the MDPH Information Line toll free at (866) 627-7968.


This information is provided by within the Department of Public Health.