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The Number of Flu Cases Worldwide: A Global Perspective

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Posted on February 9, 2022
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Influenza is a year-round, global virus. Because the flu season typically coincides with the winter months, the Northern hemisphere’s flu season is often from October-April and the Southern hemisphere’s flu season covers the other months of the year.

Here are some statistics on flu cases worldwide:

  • An estimated 1 billion people worldwide are infected by seasonal influenza every year
  • Out of those 1 billion, about 3-5 million people have a severe case of flu each year
  • Globally, an estimated 290,000 – 650,000 deaths occur due to flu each year

The World Health organization has global programs that monitor influenza activity across member countries and tracks global trends, spread, intensity, and impact of influenza. Check out more data here.



Palache, A., A. Abelin, R. Hollingsworth, W. Cracknell, C. Jacobs, T. Tsai, and P. Barbosa. 2017. Survey of distribution of seasonal influenza vaccine doses in 201 countries (2004-2015): The 2003 world health assembly resolution on seasonal influenza vaccination coverage and the 2009 influenza pandemic have had very little impact on improving influenza control and pandemic preparedness. Vaccine 35(36):4681- 4686.

Iuliano, A. D., K. M. Roguski, H. H. Chang, D. J. Muscatello, R. Palekar, S. Tempia, C. Cohen, J. M. Gran, D. Schanzer, B. J. Cowling, P. Wu, J. Kyncl, L. W. Ang, M. Park, M. Redlberger-Fritz, H. Yu, L. Espenhain, A. Krishnan, G. Emukule, L. van Asten, S. Pereira da Silva, S. Aungkulanon, U. Buchholz, M. A. Widdowson, and J. S. Bresee. 2018. Estimates of global seasonal influenza-associated respiratory mortality: A modelling study. Lancet 391(10127):1285-1300.

WHO. 2018. Ask the expert: Influenza q&a. (accessed April 7, 2021)

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