Influenza is a highly contagious viral disease, which typically occurs as an epidemic during the cold months. Serious human influenza epidemics are rare, but recurrently they are more severe than the normal seasonal outbreaks, in which case they are also called pandemics. A pandemic occurs when a new influenza virus emerges and starts spreading all around the world as easily as normal influenza.
All EU Member States are working together to coordinate preparedness for any influenza pandemic. In the event of an increased risk of an influenza pandemic, the measures envisaged in the national and EU preparedness and response plans would be put into action. The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control plays a key role in coordinating surveillance. Further action includes medical and non-medical countermeasures and close coordination between the national authorities, the European Union and the WHO.
The EU will continue to work to improve sharing of relevant information and to coordinate risk management measures. This will include cooperation on stockpiling antiviral drugs, capacity to produce better influenza vaccines faster, improving national plans and producing better risk management tools.