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Use of Revised International Health Regulations during Influenza A (H1N1) Epidemic, 2009

By Rebecca Katz


Strong international health agreements and good planning created a structure and common procedure for nations involved in detection and evaluation of the emergence of influenza A (H1N1). This report describes a timeline of events that led to the determination of the epidemic as a public health emergency of international concern, following the agreed-upon procedures of the International Health Regulations. These events illustrate the need for sound international health agreements and should be a call to action for all nations to implement these agreements to the best of their abilities. In March 2009, human cases of infection with a novel strain of influenza A virus (H1N1) emerged in Mexico, the United States, and Canada. As of May 26, this contagious virus has spread to 46 countries, accounting for ≈13,000 cases. To date,>90 deaths caused by this virus have occurred, most of which have been in Mexico (1). Suspected cases are even more widespread, and the number of cases will inevitably continue to increase and the virus will spread to more countries in the coming weeks and months. Predicting the course of the epidemic is difficult, but one can state with certainty that good multilateral plans and agreements facilitated the initial notification of the disease. Good planning has also enabled communication and action around the emerging epidemic in a manner that has been rational, predictable, and productive. These plans, which only came into being in the past 5 years, enabled an unprecedented level of timely cooperation and communication for assessing and responding to the novel influenza A virus (H1N1)

Year: 2010
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