Skip to content
Flu in South Carolina

Difference Between Seasonal Flu and Pandemic Flu
(En Español)

Typical outbreaks due to an already circulating influenza strain occur annually in South Carolina, beginning in November and peaking in January or February; most people have some immunity from previous exposure Emergence of a new strain rarely occurs. There will be little or no immunity to the new strain of the virus causing a worldwide pandemic.
Healthy adults are rarely at risk for serious complications; usually, the very young, the elderly and people with underlying health problems are at most risk of complications. Healthy people might be as much at risk as anyone else
Existing health system can usually meet the needs of patients Existing health system could be overwhelmed
Vaccine is developed each year based on known virus strains, targeted at the most recent years’ strains Vaccine targeted against the new strain must be developed. Therefore, vaccine is not likely to be available in the first six to eight months of outbreak
Antivirals are usually in adequate supply Effective antivirals could be available in limited quantities
Seasonal flu kills approximately 36,000 people nationwide and approximately 1,400 South Carolinians each year; death is most often caused by complications, such as pneumonia. South Carolina could experience approximately 3,600 deaths due to complications affecting a greater number of people.
Symptoms include fever, cough, runny nose and muscle pains Symptoms could be the same as seasonal flue but possibly more severe, including sore throat and shortness of breath
Generally causes only a modest impact on economy and society as some schools and businesses close Would cause major impact on business, education and government. As much as 25% of the workforce could be ill at any one time. Illness could decline and re-emerge over several months. Large gatherings are cancelled to prevent further spread of disease. Disrupts routine services and health care systems.



If you have additional questions about the flu or flu vaccine, please call 1-800-27SHOTS (1-800-277-4687) or visit the CDC’s Seasonal Influenza website or