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The Difference a Year Makes: H1N1 Adieu

By Clive Riddle, August 13, 2010 

The CDC Situation from their H1N1 Swine Flu web site: “The U.S. Public Health Emergency for 2009 H1N1 Influenza expired on June 23, 2010. On August 10, 2010, the World Health Organization (WHO) International Health Regulations (IHR) Emergency Committee declared an end to the 2009 H1N1 pandemic globally…..Internationally, 2009 H1N1 viruses and seasonal influenza viruses are co-circulating in many parts of the world.  It is likely that the 2009 H1N1 virus will continue to spread for years to come, like a regular seasonal influenza virus.”

WHO reported this week that “in the majority of countries, out-of-season 2009 H1N1 outbreaks are no longer being observed, and the intensity of 2009 H1N1 influenza virus transmission is lower than that reported during 2009 and early 2010.

CDC reports that as in years past, beginning in October, 2010, they will provide weekly reports of influenza surveillance information throughout the season with the publication of FluView available at

So how should we behave in a post pandemic world? WHO recommends that surveillance and vaccination during the post-pandemic period include:

  • monitoring for unusual events, such as clusters of severe respiratory illness or death;
  • investigating severe or unusual cases, clusters or outbreaks to facilitate rapid identification of important changes in the epidemiology or severity of influenza;
  • maintaining routine surveillance, including for influenza-like illness and cases of severe acute respiratory infections;
  • continuing to use routine channels of data transmission, such as FluID, FluNet, and EUROFlu, to transmit data from the routine surveillance of respiratory disease;
  • monitoring the H1N1 2009 virus for important genetic, antigenic or functional changes, such as antiviral drug sensitivity;
  • WHO strongly recommends vaccination of high-risk individuals in countries where influenza vaccines are available.

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