Tim Uyeki (CDC) holding a chicken wearing Personal Protective Epuipment, 2004

CDC medical officer Dr. Tim Uyeki wearing protective gear and holding a chicken, which is a reservoir for avian influenza viruses, 2004

Photograph by George Duncan

Complex Virus/Complex History

Influenza: Complex Virus/Complex History traces the global impact of influenza viruses, beginning with the 1918 pandemic to present day. Influenza viruses are biologically and historically unique. Small changes in their genes occur frequently. Abrupt major changes are less common, but can have devastating impact. In modern times, recurring influenza outbreaks have prompted virologists, medical professionals, and public health workers to search for ways to prevent influenza transmission and reduce the effects of influenza infections.  

CDC, working with its worldwide partners, plays a key role in these efforts. Throughout this exhibition, the human experience with the virus is framed by the work of CDC and its partners. Influenza prevention and control capabilities have evolved, along with public perceptions of influenza. Scientific advances are interwoven with recollections of influenza’s social and cultural impact to illustrate a complex global story in which each of us plays a unique, ever-changing role.

Just as influenza viruses have changed, so too has the science and the perception surrounding influenza throughout history.