Archive for August, 2010

And so it’s over – is it??

26 August, 2010

The WHO recently declared the H1N1 “swine flu” pandemic to be over – on August 10th, 2010.   From the AFP article:

“The world is no longer in phase six of the pandemic alert. We are now moving into the post-pandemic period,” WHO Director General Margaret Chan said


Swine flu has killed more than 18,449 people and affected some 214 countries and territories since it was uncovered in Mexico and the United States in April 2009, according to WHO data.

The new virus spread swiftly worldwide despite drastic measures including a week long shutdown in Mexico, prompting the UN health agency to scale up its alerts and declare a pandemic on June 11, 2009, banishing kisses and frowning on handshakes.

Fears about the impact of swine flu on unprotected populations and a harmful mutation sparked a rush for hundreds of millions of dollars worth of specially-developed vaccines and a flurry of public health precautions.

However, those concerns dwindled in late 2009 to be replaced by recriminations in Western nations about the cost of unused vaccines and what some European critics regarded as an unjustified scare.

Amazing, that: the world authorities get it right, help mitigate what could have been a nasty pandemic – then get it in the neck for being alarmist, and helping drug companies make a profit.

Further from the article:

After petering out in Europe and the United States before their winter flu season was over, in recent months swine flu has affected parts of South Asia and “limited areas” of tropical South and Central America, as well as Africa for their second season.

But unlike 2009, when A(H1N1) ousted most other types of flu viruses around the world, known seasonal viruses now are prevalent and even dominant in countries such as South Africa.

Yeeessssss…and that’s all very well, because do you know what happened in South Africa?  They’ve only just released H1N1 vaccine stockpiled for health workers for the duration of the Soccer World Cup, is what – late in the flu season, and almost too late to do any good.  Meaning exactly what was predicted at the beginning of the pandemic, came to pass: there was not enough vaccine for developing countries, and even a year after its emergence, it was still not being distributed evenly.

Not a very good practice run for the Big One, if you ask me: still not enough vaccine being made quickly enough; vaccine not being distributed to at-risk countries; too much fussing over the welcome news that it was not as bad as it could have been.

I’m going to put my faith in plants….