Pandemic Flu and Communicable Diseases

The University’s goal is to keep the Columbia community healthy and safe by preparing contingency plans. In the case of a pandemic flu outbreak, please check this site frequently and follow guidance on changes to campus operations. General tips for preparing for a pandemic flu or any readily communicable disease may include:

  • Engaging in preventive hygiene measures, such as covering your cough and washing your hands
  • Receiving a vaccination, if you are deemed eligible, in accordance with public health guidelines
  • Protecting yourself and others by contacting your healthcare provider and staying home if you are feeling ill
    • Students on the Morningside campus may call (212) 854-2284
    • Students on the Manhattanville campus may call (212) 853-330i
    • Students on the CUMC campus may call (212) 305-3400
    • Faculty and staff should contact their healthcare provider
  • Taking safety precautions when traveling to areas affected by disease

For more information about preparing for communicable disease or pandemic illness, visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

Be Prepared for Influenza

The primary defense against influenza is immunization. Each fall, seasonal flu vaccine is available on campus to University students, faculty, and staff. Preventive hygiene, such as covering your cough and washing your hands, is also among the foremost protective measures everyone can take.

For information about getting an annual flu vaccine:

Affiliates on the Morningside and Manhattanville campus may visit the Columbia Health Flu

CUIMC affiliates may check with Student Health on Haven (students) and Workforce Health & Safety (faculty and staff).


Influenza - "flu" - is widely familiar, causing epidemics every year. Influenza viruses spread very easily from person to person.

A pandemic is an influenza epidemic so large that the entire world is affected. Two main conditions are required for an influenza pandemic: the influenza virus strain must be novel to the human population (so that most of the population does not already have some immunity to it), and it must be able to spread efficiently from person to person.