|Pandemic (H1N1) 2009 frequently asked questions|
1 May 2009
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.
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.
Teams are already sending epidemiological evidence but we will know more over the next few days.
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.
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.
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.
Regional Office for the Americas of the World Health Organization