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Influenza

Background

Influenza (the flu) is a contagious illness caused by influenza viruses, which infect the respiratory tract (i.e., the nose, throat, lungs). Influenza is spread primarily through sneezing and coughing. Contaminated objects (hands, phones, shared eating utensils) can also spread the flu. It can cause mild illness, but unlike many other viral respiratory infections, such as the common cold, the flu can also cause severe illness and life-threatening complications. Serious illness and death are highest among people 65 years and older and children less than 2 years old. Most healthy people recover from the flu without complications. Annual vaccination with influenza vaccine provides protection from influenza and may also prevent spreading influenza to others.

An influenza pandemic occurs when a new influenza virus causes high numbers of illnesses in humans and spreads rapidly throughout the world. Because there is little natural immunity, the disease can spread easily from person to person.

Below, we have provided information on seasonal and pandemic influenza, including clinical guidance, policies and directives, training material, and other resources, to assist healthcare providers and Service members and their families.

Table of Contents


Policies and Directives

DoD/Joint Forces

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Clinical Guidance

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Fact Sheets

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Pandemic Influenza

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Education and Training

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Research

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Related Links

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