Influenza (Flu) in Virginia

Seasonal influenza is commonly referred to as “the flu.” It is a contagious respiratory illness caused by viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs. There are two main types of influenza viruses: A and B. Each type includes many different strains that tend to change from year to year. The flu spreads mainly from person to person by droplets from the nose or throat that are released when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The best way to prevent the flu is to get vaccinated every year.

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Learn more about the flu

What are the symptoms? How is it spread?
Who is at risk?

 

Prevent the flu

How can I protect myself?
Where can I find a flu vaccine?

 

Updates on the flu

What's happening right now in Virginia?
What do the data say?

 

Resources for healthcare providers

How can I protect my patients?
What do I need to report to the health department?

 

Resources for group settings

How can I prevent an outbreak?
What should I do if there is one?

 

Learn about novel influenza

What are novel and variant influenza? What are pandemics? How are these related?

 

There are a lot of possible subtypes of influenza A that are not a part of the seasonal flu. All of these subtypes are considered novel because they don’t regularly infect humans. Instead, strains like H7N9 and H3N2v can occur in animals like poultry, pigs, cats, dogs, and even horses. When a virus jumps from an animal to a human, that’s called a spillover event. While rare, most spillover events in the U.S. have been with variant influenza, or a strain known to exist in pigs.

Most novel flu viruses do not spread easily from one human to another. If any flu virus develops this ability, however, it could potentially lead to a pandemic – a large-scale global epidemic. Public health monitors all novel flu viruses to help prevent pandemics.