What is influenza?

Updated: Aug 07, 2020
  • Author: Hien H Nguyen, MD, MS; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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Influenza, one of the most common infectious diseases, is a highly contagious airborne disease that occurs in seasonal epidemics and manifests as an acute febrile illness with variable degrees of systemic symptoms, ranging from mild fatigue to respiratory failure and death. Influenza causes significant loss of workdays, human suffering, and mortality.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) documented that seasonal influenza was responsible for 24,000-62,000 deaths during the 2019-2020 season. [1] Mortality is highest in infants and elderly persons.

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