Thursday, June 11, 2009

WHO declares H1N1 a pandemic, officially

Dr. Margaret Chan, Director-General of the World Health Organization, today announced “On the basis of available evidence, and these expert assessments of the evidence, the scientific criteria for an influenza pandemic have been met” regarding the H1N1 virus. The complete statement is here.

This is the fourth influenza pandemic in 100 years. The previous pandemics occurred in 1918, 1957 and 1968. However, the categorization of this incident as a pandemic does not reflect the severity of the disease, which may well remain relatively mild, although it could mutate and become much more severe by fall. It is likely that a separate vaccine will be necessary.

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