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WHO: H1N1 influenza now in the post-pandemic period

Geneva, 10 August 2010 (WHO). The Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr Margaret Chan, announced today that the H1N1 influenza virus has moved into the post-pandemic period. Although the world is no longer experiencing an influenza pandemic, some countries will continue to experience significant H1N1 (2009) epidemics. Based on knowledge about past pandemics, WHO expects the H1N1 virus to continue to circulate as a seasonal virus for some years to come.

According to the Organization, the level of concern is now greatly diminished, but vigilance on the part of national health authorities remains important. Such vigilance is especially critical in the immediate post-pandemic period, when the behaviour of the H1N1 virus as a seasonal virus cannot be reliably predicted. It is likely that the virus will continue to disproportionately affect a younger age group, at least in the immediate post-pandemic period.

WHO has issued guidance on recommended activities during the post-pandemic period, including advice on epidemiological and virological monitoring, vaccination, and the clinical management of cases. National health authorities are reminded that cases and local outbreaks of H1N1 infection will continue to occur. In some locations, such outbreaks could have a substantial impact on communities.

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