Building upon the Success of the Pandemic Preparedness of the 2009 H1N1 Pandemic
Looking Back at the First Influenza Pandemic of the 21st Century
The sudden appearance of the (H1N1)pdm09 virus in 2009 caught the world by surprise, but not unprepared. While previous pandemic preparations had focused on the possibility of an avian influenza pandemic, decades of preparedness planning had positioned public health agencies around the world to respond.
Some lessons immediately revealed themselves. As attention had been focused on avian influenza in Asia as the greatest pandemic flu threat, U.S. public health authorities did not strongly consider the possibility that the next pandemic might occur in the U.S. While many public health officials had always stated the next influenza pandemic could originate from anywhere in the world, the 2009 pandemic provided an example to reinforce this valuable lesson.
One of the many lessons learned is that a new virus subtype is not necessary to spark a pandemic. While the (H1N1)pdm09 virus that caused the 2009 pandemic was not a new subtype, the genetic distance between it and seasonal influenza A(H1N1) viruses of that time was substantial enough to trigger a global outbreak of disease.
The 2009 flu pandemic tested U.S. laboratory and surveillance systems, exposing one of the biggest lessons learned from the pandemic: the importance of developing seasonal influenza epidemiology and laboratory capacity both in the U.S. and around the world. A decade later, the lessons learned from the 2009 flu pandemic remain relevant today.
CDC Memories of the 2009 Flu Pandemic
The 2009 pandemic flu response required collaborations among experts from many different fields at CDC. As the pandemic waned, CDC experts involved in the response reflected on the challenges they faced. The 2009 pandemic flu response required collaborations among experts from many different fields at CDC. As the pandemic waned, CDC experts involved in the response reflected on the challenges they faced.