H1N1 (Swine Flu): The H1N1 Pandemic – Happy Anniversary! One Year Later…What Have We Learned
I personally will never forget April 24, 2009. I was on a conference call at 5:00am Pacific Time with an east coast client and we were well into the planning of a pandemic conference for the transportation industry. He started the call by asking me, “Regina, what the hell is going on in Mexico???…I am hearing about this widespread respiratory illness and people wearing masks in the streets?!?!” Thank goodness for the internet as I rapidly searched while on the phone I said to myself, “HOLY MOLEY…This is IT and it is RIGHT NEXT DOOR!!!!!!!” What happened to all of that time we thought we would have and isn’t it supposed to come from Asia?????
And so it went….One year ago this month, the world watched with apprehension as a new novel influenza A virus emerged from Mexico. In the weeks that followed, the H1N1 ‘swine flu’ virus spread rapidly to countries worldwide, leading the WHO to move us rapidly through the pandemic levels: WHO 4 on April 27 and WHO 5 on April 29 and then after a long and painful pause, on June 11, 2009 they officially declare the first flu pandemic in more than 40 years. What have we learned? The publication, Nature, has just released a great piece on this very issue and that article is a summary of what has transpired over the past twelve months.