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CHA.04 Influenza and Avian Influenza

CHA. Communicable Diseases and Health Analysis

Number of deaths confirmed for the pandemic (H1N1) 2009 virus.
Region of the Americas. As of August 16, 2010.
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Response to Pandemic (H1N1) 2009 in the Americas: Lessons and Challenges (2010)

This report summarizes the discussions of the meeting "Response to Pandemic (H1N1) 2009 in the Americas: Lessons and Challenges" convened by PAHO in Miami, Florida, on 15-17 September 2009. The goal of this meeting was to promote a discussion among representatives from PAHO's Member States on their experiences in responding to the influenza (H1N1) 2009 pandemic and on ways to improve future responses to epidemiological emergencies.

Last Updated on Thursday, 13 September 2012 13:58

Pandemic (H1N1) 2009 frequently asked questions

    • 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?
    Last Updated on Friday, 14 August 2009 08:21

    Influenza and Avian Influenza

    Avian influenza, or "bird flu", is a contagious disease of animals caused by viruses that normally infect only birds and, less commonly, pigs. Avian influenza viruses are highly species-specific, but have, on rare occasions, crossed the species barrier to infect humans.

    A highly pathogenic avian influenza virus, as the current H5N1 virus circulating in South-East Asia, poses two main risks for human health.

    The first is the risk of direct infection when the virus passes from poultry to humans, resulting in very severe disease. Unlike normal seasonal influenza, where infection causes only mild respiratory symptoms in most people, the disease caused by H5N1 follows an unusually aggressive clinical course, with rapid deterioration and high fatality. Primary viral pneumonia and multi-organ failure are common.

    A second risk, of even greater concern, is that the virus – if given enough opportunities – will reassort into a form that is highly infectious for humans and spreads easily from person to person. Such a change could mark the start of a global outbreak (a pandemic).

    Reference: WHO Health Topics : Influenza and Avian Influenza 

    Last Updated on Thursday, 13 September 2012 14:34

    Avian Influenza and Influenza Pandemic Links

    Links of resources from international organizations and national Ministries of Health related to avian influenza and influenza pandemic preparedness.

    Last Updated on Thursday, 13 September 2012 14:35

    International Health Regulations 2005

    The International Health Regulations (IHR) are an international legal instrument that is binding on 194 countries across the globe, including all the Member States of WHO. Their aim is to help the international community prevent and respond to acute public health risks that have the potential to cross borders and threaten people worldwide. The IHR, which entered into force on 15 June 2007, require countries to report certain disease outbreaks and public health events to WHO. Building on the unique experience of WHO in global disease surveillance, alert and response, the IHR define the rights and obligations of countries to report public health events, and establish a number of procedures that WHO must follow in its work to uphold global public health security.

    The IHR also require countries to strengthen their existing capacities for public health surveillance and response. WHO is working closely with countries and partners to provide technical guidance and support to mobilize the resources needed to implement the new rules in an effective and timely manner. Timely and open reporting of public health events will help make the world more secure.

    Last Updated on Thursday, 13 September 2012 14:36
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    Public Information for Mass Media

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