The European Medicines Agency (EMA) is responsible for reviewing data on pandemic influenza vaccines and antiviral medicines eligible for authorisation in the European Union (EU) via the centralised procedure It also provides scientific and regulatory support to EU Member States in taking the necessary public health decisions during an influenza pandemic. The devastating virus, overshadowed by the last months of World War I, was felt on the homefront, where 675,000 Americans died of influenza or pneumonia. The U.S. government keeps a supply of vaccines that may protect people against a flu pandemic. But if a new flu virus starts to spread, a new vaccine may be needed to protect people against it.
Widespread avian flu would introduce a new level of uncertainty into our already unsettled lives. If the threat escalates, people may be quarantined involuntarily. Whatever their organizational affiliation, people will feel they are losing control. The situation will require tireless, persuasive, optimistic—but factual—communication on the part of leaders. The medium of communication won’t matter much. In some organizations, leaders or their designees may want to start blogging recommended site regularly on flu-related matters. The tone of these communications will be critical, however. One of the insidious qualities of a health threat is that it destroys social cohesion. In the face of a deadly disease, people will become fearful of one another. Individuals who have amicably shared office space will begin recoiling every time a colleague sneezes. Genuine leaders will find the words to ameliorate those fears and enable people to remain connected and productive.
Planning scenarios are not predictions and will be replaced with evidence when a pandemic occurs. The basic scenarios cannot incorporate all potential factors that can affect the impact of a pandemic. Some factors are population-wide and could affect all scenarios, such as seasonality, pre-existing immunity or antiviral resistance, whereas others may be setting-specific, such as the effects on a remote community.
In Phase 2 an animal influenza virus circulating among domesticated or wild animals is known to have caused infection in humans, and is therefore considered a potential pandemic threat. Each subsequent flu pandemic, which hit in 1957, 1968, and 2009, brought valuable lessons. In the United States, the CDC took advantage of additional funding it received during the 2009 pandemic to make improvements it couldn’t otherwise afford.
In 2016, the Commission on a Global Health Risk Framework for the Future estimated that pandemic disease events would cost the global economy over $6 trillion in the 21st century – over $60 billion per year. 132 The same report also recommended spending $4.5 billion annually on global prevention and response capabilities to reduce the threat posed by pandemic events.
Even now 100 years on, the 1918 influenza pandemic stands as one of the most devastating public health events in world history. This global disaster, which led to the deaths of an estimated 50 to 100 million people, is still offering lessons to public health experts, clinicians, and researchers, according to two eminent scientists who have studied the 1918 strain extensively.
An influenza, or flu” pandemic is a global outbreak of disease that occurs when a new influenza A virus appears or “emerges” in the human population, causes serious illness, and then spreads easily from person to person worldwide. There have been a number of significant pandemics in human history, generally zoonoses that came about with domestication of animals – such as influenza and tuberculosis.
Anyone can get sick with flu (even healthy people), and serious problems related to flu can happen at any age, but some people are at high risk of developing serious flu-related complications if they get sick. This includes people 65 years and older, people of any age with certain chronic medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease), pregnant women and children younger than 5 years, but especially those younger than 2 years old.
In 1918, a flu virus spread around the world, leading to a pandemic. This pandemic has come to be known as the 1918 or the Spanish Flu. It was caused by an H1N1 influenza A virus that scientists believe mutated from an influenza virus that was previously infecting only birds. It evolved and changed enough that it was able to infect humans and spread rapidly from person to person. Because this type of influenza virus had never infected the human population before, it was able to infect an enormous number of people very quickly.
As we prepare to mark the centenary of the worst flu pandemic in recorded history, it is time to step up efforts to improve flu vaccine uptake. During the 1918-19 outbreak, it was thought that Spanish flu was caused by bacteria rather than a virus. Viruses are now better understood, but scientists have also learned a great deal from studying the pandemic which struck a century ago.