WHO Declares H1N1 Pandemic Alert Over
World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General, Dr. Margaret Chan, announced that the world is no longer in phase six of influenza pandemic alert — we are now moving into the post-pandemic period and the new H1N1 virus has largely run its course. Dr. Chan went on to say:
“As we enter the post-pandemic period, this does not mean that the H1N1 virus has gone away. Based on experience with past pandemics, we expect the H1N1 virus to take on the behavoir of a seasonal influenza virus and continue to circulate for some years to come.
In the post-pandemic period, localized outbreaks of different magnitude may show significant levels of H1N1 transmission. This is the situation we are observing right now in New Zealand, and may see elsewhere.
Continued vigilance is extremely important, and WHO has issued advice on recommended surveillance, vaccination, and clinical management during the post-pandemic period.
Based on available evidence and experience from past pandemics, it is likely that the virus will continue to cause serious disease in younger age groups, at least in the immediate post-pandemic period. Groups identified during the pandemic as at higher risk of severe or fatal illness will probably remain at heightened risk, though hopefully the number of such cases will diminish.
Thanks to extensive preparedness and support from the international community, even countries with very weak health systems were able to detect cases and report them promptly.” (full text of Dr. Chan’s comments)
WHO’s Flu Advisors
WHO has also released a list of flu advisors to the International Health Regulations (2005) Emergency Committee concerning Influenza Pandemic (H1N1) 2009. (full list of advisors) Included are these declarations of interest:
2010-2011 Influenza Season, Post-Pandemic Period
Meanwhile, the CDC is gearing up for the 2010-2011 influenza season and advises that the seasonal vaccine this year will contain three vaccine viruses recommended by WHO and the FDA:
The H1N1 virus is the same vaccine virus as was used in the 2009 H1N1 vaccine.Seasonal flu vaccines are generally available in September and throughout the flu season into January and beyond.
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Photo Credit: Greg Knobloch, via U.S. Centers for disease Control and Prevention
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