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2009 H1N1 Pandemic

2009: The H1N1pdm09 virus

In the spring of 2009, a novel influenza A (H1N1) virus emerged. It was detected first in the United States and spread quickly across the United States and the world. 

This new H1N1 virus contained a unique combination of influenza genes not previously identified in animals or people.

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2009 H1N1 Pandemic

2009 H1N1 Pandemic

https://www.cdc.gov/flu/pandemic-resources/2009-h1n1-pandemic.html

cdc.gov

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Key Ideas

2009: The H1N1pdm09 virus

In the spring of 2009, a novel influenza A (H1N1) virus emerged. It was detected first in the United States and spread quickly across the United States and the world. 

This new H1N1 virus contained a unique combination of influenza genes not previously identified in animals or people.

The 2009 H1N1 outbreak in numbers

From April 12, 2009 to April 10, 2010, CDC estimated there were 60.8 million cases (range: 43.3-89.3 million), 274,304 hospitalizations (range: 195,086-402,719), and 12,469 deaths (range: 8868-18,306) in the United States due to the (H1N1)pdm09 virus.
Additionally, CDC estimated that 151,700-575,400 people worldwide died from (H1N1)pdm09 virus infection during the first year the virus circulated.

The 2009 H1N1 Pandemic

Though the 2009 flu pandemic primarily affected children and young and middle-aged adults, the impact of the (H1N1)pdm09 virus on the global population during the first year was less severe than that of previous pandemics.
The (H1N1)pdm09 virus was very different from H1N1 viruses that were circulating at the time of the pandemic. Few young people had any existing immunity (as detected by antibody response) to the (H1N1)pdm09 virus, but nearly one-third of people over 60 years old had antibodies against this virus, likely from exposure to an older H1N1 virus earlier in their lives.

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A lesson from history

Near the end of World War One, the Spanish flu infected over a quarter of the world's population and claimed between 50 and 100 million lives.

During this pandemic, cities around the US ...

The spread of the new virus
  • If you are infected and continue to socialize as normal, you may pass the virus on to between two and three friends or family members, who could then infect a further 2 - 3 people. In one month, this can lead to 244 other cases, and in two months, it can rise to 59,604
  • A silent transmission - people who have been infected, but don't show any symptoms - can occur in up to 10% of cases. These people may not realize that they need to self-isolate.
  • There is evidence that staying at home and maintaining a safe distance from others can slow the spread.
The aim of social distancing

One of the goals of social distancing is to delay the spread of the virus, so it reaches people more slowly

The idea is to lengthen the time period over which the virus travels through a population and push the peak number of cases back so it appears later. With a lower rate of spreading, less infected people will need urgent care and resources at any given time.

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The New Virus and The Flu

According to health officials, tens of thousands of Americans die from the flu each year, while the new virus has far less infected. 

But the new virus may, in fact, be deadlier, and th...

Contagious And Hidden
  • The new virus is contagious, with a high reproduction rate.
  • The people who aren't displaying any outside symptoms are also contagious, making the new virus difficult or even impossible to control.
  • Currently, no one knows how many people are carrying the dormant virus in them while displaying no symptoms.
No Cure So Far

Older people and those with weak immunity are more susceptible to the virus. Children, who get infected severely by the flu are only showing mild or no symptoms to the new virus.

Flu infects far more people but there are vaccines for it. The new virus currently has no treatment or vaccination.

Current data for the severity of the virus shows that 80 percent have a mild infection, 15 percent had a severe illness and 5 percent critical illness.

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Epidemic vs. pandemic

An epidemic is a broad term used to describe any problem that is actively spreading and has grown out of control.

The pandemic rel...

Disease Event Classification

Epidemiology is the branch of medicine that handles the following:

  • Incidence: the occurrence of a disease over a specified period.
  • Prevalence: how many people are affected within a population.
  • Control of diseases: an appropriate public health response.

Two measurable factors mostly define the level of disease occurrence:

  • The pattern and speed by which a disease moves.
  • The size of the susceptible population.
The terms an epidemiologist use
  • Sporadic refers to a disease that occurs infrequently or irregularly.
  • Cluster refers to a disease that occurs in larger numbers even though the actual number or cause may be uncertain.
  • Endemic refers to the constant presence and/or general prevalence of a disease in a geographic population.
  • Hyperendemic refers to persistent, high levels of disease well above what is seen in other populations.
  • Epidemic refers to a sudden increase in the number of cases of a disease above what is normally expected.
  • Outbreak is the same as an epidemic but is often used to describe a more limited geographic event.
  • Pandemic refers to an epidemic that has spread over several countries or continents, usually affecting a large number of people.

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