Essential Medicines and Biologicals
Medicines and Health Technologies
- How do people become infected with influenza A(H1N1)?
- What are the signs and symptoms of infection?
- Regarding study of the first outbreak, have you received any feedback from the WHO team sent to Mexico to investigate the outbreak?
- Is there any confirmation of transmission between pigs and humans at this point?
- Is there any information on the economic impact of the outbreak so far?
- Why are we so worried about this pandemic possibility when thousands die every year from seasonal epidemics?
1 May 2009
How do people become infected with influenza A(H1N1)?
Outbreaks in humans are now occurring from human-to-human transmission. When infected people cough or sneeze, infected droplets get on their hands, drop onto surfaces, or are dispersed into the air. Another person can breathe in contaminated air, or touch infected hands or surfaces, and be exposed. To prevent spread, people should cover their mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing, and wash their hands regularly.
What are the signs and symptoms of infection?
Early signs of influenza A(H1N1) are flu-like, including fever, cough, headache, muscle and joint pain, sore throat and runny nose, and sometimes vomiting or diarrhoea.
Regarding study of the first outbreak, have you received any feedback from the WHO team sent to Mexico to investigate the outbreak?
Teams are already sending epidemiological evidence but we will know more over the next few days.
Is there any confirmation of transmission between pigs and humans at this point?
Is there any information on the economic impact of the outbreak so far?
Why are we so worried about this pandemic possibility when thousands die every year from seasonal epidemics?
Seasonal epidemics occur every year and we are able to treat the virus with seasonal vaccines. A pandemic is a worldwide epidemic. It is a new virus and one to which the populations will have no immunity.
Policy Formulation, Implementation, and Evaluation
PAHO assists the Member States at the national and subregional level in the formulation, implementation, and evaluation of pharmaceutical policies as part of their health policies in order to guarantee equitable access to quality essential medicines and promote their rational, evidence-based use by health professionals and the community.
Through a participatory process with all actors from the pharmaceutical sector led by the Ministry of Health based on a situation diagnosis, discussion was promoted and a consensus was reached that lead to approval of pharmaceutical policy through an administrative act such as a ministerial resolution, presidential decree, or law (e.g., Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, the Dominican Republic and, more recently, Panama, where the policy has not yet been approved). In the case of the subregional policies, the policies of the Andean Community, MERCOSUR, and Central America are noteworthy.
Pharmaceuticals Services based on Primary Health Care
As part of the PAHO initiative on the renewal of primary health care, regional guidelines are being drafted for the development of pharmaceutical services as an integral part of health services based on primary health care.