August 10, 2010
WHO officials have declared an end to the H1N1 influenza pandemic, despite the fact that the virus is still circulating in many parts of the world.
Based on the information gathered by the WHO’s Emergency Committee from around the world, H1N1 virus is still circulating around the globe and is responsible for localized outbreaks in certain places such as New Zealand.
The virus, however, is believed to follow the trend of a typical seasonal flu, indicating that out-of-season outbreaks are no longer being reported in either the northern or southern hemispheres.
“The new H1N1 virus has largely run its course,” said Director-General of the World Health Organization Margaret Chan on Tuesday, adding that influenza remains very unpredictable.
She, therefore, urged health officials around the world to remain vigilant about the virus and make sure individuals, particularly the youngsters, receive the regular flu vaccine.
“This time around we have been aided by pure good luck,” said Chan, adding that “The virus did not mutate during the pandemic to a more lethal form. Widespread resistance to oseltamivir [Tamiflu] did not develop. The vaccine proved to be a good match with circulating viruses and showed an excellent safety profile.”
“Thanks to extensive preparedness and support form the international community, even countries with very weak health systems were able to detect cases and report them promptly,” said WHO’s director-general.
Latest figures revealed that H1N1 virus had spread to more than 200 countries, claiming the lives of at least 11,516 individuals worldwide since its first appearance in April. The WHO declared the pandemic in June 2009, marking the first official flu pandemic since 1968.
Many believe these statistics have underestimated the number of deaths as not everyone had been tested for swine flu and many were diagnosed as having influenza. An accurate death toll, therefore, will only be available within the next two years.
This article was posted: Tuesday, August 10, 2010 at 11:47 am