The Emerging Pandemic Threats (EPT) program strengthens capacities in developing countries to prevent, detect, and control infectious diseases in animals and people with an emphasis on early identification of, and response to, dangerous pathogens from animals before they can become significant threats to human health. The flu affects not just public health, but also so […]
The Emerging Pandemic Threats (EPT) program strengthens capacities in developing countries to prevent, detect, and control infectious diseases in animals and people with an emphasis on early identification of, and response to, dangerous pathogens from animals before they can become significant threats to human health. The flu affects not just public health, but also so many other areas of our society. There’s the Super Bowl effect – or an effect related to any specific major sports event – where people tend to get the flu at higher rates because people are congregating at Super Bowl parties and getting infected. There were some significant effects from the 1918 outbreak, including that people who were exposed while in utero have been shown to have higher-than-expected rates of incarceration and recidivism.
The authors modeled the effect of voluntary self-isolation when distribution of antivirals is delayed and found that it reduced the transmission of pandemic influenza. Voluntary self-isolation is more effective the closer in time to symptom onset it is implemented and loses effectiveness as the proportion of asymptomatic infections increases.
WHO has developed a global influenza preparedness plan (pdf), which defines the responsibilities of WHO and national authorities in case of an influenza pandemic. This plan incorporates new scientific data and experience obtained during recent outbreaks that had pandemic potential. WHO also offers guidance tools and training to assist in the development of national pandemic preparedness plans.
Pandemics, on the other hand, are generally caused by novel subtypes. These subtypes have not circulated among people before. Continued research. New and better antiviral drugs, along with a longer-lasting flu vaccine, could ultimately be the most effective protections against a pandemic.
In 1919, doctors attempted to vaccinate patients against influenza, developing a vaccine for Pfeiffer’s bacillus that proved completely ineffective. After the pandemic had passed, biomedical researchers began to reevaluate the etiology of influenza with the goal of preventing a future pandemic. Between 1935 and the early 1960s the influenza virus was the most studied virus infecting humans. In 1936, H1N1, the strain of the influenza responsible for the pandemic, was isolated in a laboratory beginning the path towards a vaccine, which was first tested, again in the context of war, on U.S. soldiers during World War II.
USAID-funded CDC activities focus on pathogen detection as well as outbreak investigation and response. Specific activities include: strengthening surveillance and lab capacity; enhanced monitoring for zoonotic pathogens in people with frequent contact with wildlife; in-service Field Epidemiology Training Programs (FETP); and supporting outbreak response when requested. To further enhance coordination and link to CDC’s expertise, two CDC technical officers have been seconded to USAID to directly manage EPT projects focused on One Health, pre-service epidemiology training and laboratory capacity-building within the PIOET portfolio.
The authors identify public health as another important factor. In 1918, people suffering from malnutrition and underlying diseases, such as tuberculosis, were more likely to die from the infection. This is still relevant today: climate change could result in crop losses and malnutrition, while increasing antibiotic resistance could see bacterial infections becoming more prevalent. Future pandemics will also face the challenge of obesity, which increases the risk of dying from influenza.
Pandemic flu will impact on all services including health, police, fire, the military, fuel supply, food preparation, distribution and transport, prisons, education and business. All are likely to be affected by staff sickness, travel restrictions and other potentially restrictive countermeasures, and by the knock-on effects of reduced transport, deliveries etc.
The most important thing we don’t know is why it can strike in such different ways in different people. I just mentioned that the young, healthy population is hardly touched, and yet there are other cases, such as the one I describe in the book, of a patient who had https://pandemicinfosite.com no risk factor but came down with influenza and almost died. Suddenly, what seems to be a mild case in one person turns into a life-threatening attack in another. We don’t know why. We don’t know why it’s so much more infectious in one population and not another.
In an attempt to remedy this problem, the WHO passed the pandemic influenza preparedness (PIP) framework in 2011. This created a virtual stockpile”, a stockpile of vaccines promised to the WHO, but which does not yet exist, of at least 150m doses that developing countries can access during a pandemic.
It causes a worldwide outbreak of serious illness that spreads from person to person. In the case of influenza , seasonal outbreaks — or epidemics — are generally caused by subtypes of a virus that is already circulating among people. There are several key differences between pandemic and seasonal influenza. Seasonal outbreaks of the flu are caused by flu viruses that are already circulating among people, so they have some resistance to them.
Today, chemopreventive strategies have lowered the disease burden associated with malaria and new eradication strategies are being developed. However, malaria still causes significant worldwide morbidity and mortality, there is ever increasing drug resistance and new malaria vaccines have yet to provide long-lasting benefits at a population level ( Ashley et al., 2018 ). Until effective control measures have been developed and implemented, areas endemic for malaria remain at high risk for increased mortality during the next influenza pandemic.