Epidemics know no borders. They know no race, no language or religion. The WHO has declared the H1N1 (Swine flu) as the first global pandemic in 41 years. As of 17:00 GMT, 15 June 2009, 76 countries have officially reported 35, 928 cases of influenza A(H1N1) infection, including 163 deaths.
In 2 weeks, India has moved from cautious to infected. The numbers continue to grow on a daily basis. For a disease that is highly contagious and with symptoms that could be easily mistaken for common ailments, the danger is omnipresent for a nation like ours – rich in people, average in medicare and poor in awareness.
Thankfully, India has finally raised a travel advisory yesterday. They have also requested for infected nations to screen air passengers at the source rather than just at the destination. The media is trying to bring in awareness to the masses and doctors and hospitals immediately refering suspect cases to the Govt. medicare centers.
Despite all this, a suspect escaped from a hospital quarantine a couple of days back. Officials were seen desperately trying to track down fellow passengers from flights that brougnt in confirmed cases to the country. Govt. centers are trying to arrange for adequate stocks of Tamiflu and Relenza. All this as research is now showing that H1N1 can further mutate to resist these drugs and yet hoping for a vaccine in then next 3 months.
As science tries to find a solution, and research better ways to counter the threat, we must acknowledge that no one is beyond this danger. Thankfully H1N1 is still treatable and many nations are already prepared to (hopefully) contain it.
Prevention is better than cure. If you are interested to know more about H1N1, visit the WHO pages for:
- All about H1N1 and latest updates
- What each of us need to know about reducing risk of infection
- How we can help our our communities fight this dread
Spread the word! Awareness is the need of the day.
Image Courtesty: WHO