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Mexican Swine Flu Out of Control in 2009

Why was Mexican swine flu out of control in 2009?

[The only infectious diseases that have been wiped out throughout the world and recorded by human beings have been smallpox. ]

The epidemic situation of the new coronavirus affects the hearts of people across countries. 
Recently, Zhang Wenhong, director of the Department of Infection, Shanghai Huashan Hospital, analyzed the development of the epidemic situation and divided the development of the epidemic situation into three possibilities:

First, the most ideal situation is to achieve complete success, control the epidemic in Wuhan before the Lantern Festival, and end the fighting within two to four months;

The second possibility is stagnation, the epidemic situation is partially controlled, the number of patients is increasing moderately, but within the controllable range;

The third possibility is complete failure, which spread to the world like the 2009 Mexican swine flu.

So, how did the Mexican swine flu in 2009 step by step out of control?

 Looking back in time, we may be able to gain useful experience of the current situation from historical events.

In 2009, the World Health Organization announced for the first time a public health emergency (PHEIC) of international concern, targeting the influenza A (H1N1) originating in Mexico. This epidemic was once thought to be transmitted from pigs to humans. Also referred to as "swine flu".

Starting from the diagnosis of the first patient in March 2009, the World Health Organization declared the end of the epidemic in August 2010. The worldwide swine flu, which lasted 16 months, killed about 18,500 people, and reached 214 countries and regions.

Due to the failure to effectively control the virus, this new type A H1N1 flu has gradually evolved into one of the seasonal influenzas that are spreading around the world, killing tens of thousands of people every year.

Abnormal mortality

At the end of March 2009, a new type of influenza virus began to spread in Mexico, California and Texas.

In March 2009, when this infectious disease first appeared in Mexico, it was considered to be transmitted from pigs to humans, and no human-to-human transmission was seen. Therefore, many countries, including China, imposed a ban on North American pork.

However, in April 2009, Mexico found that the virus can be transmitted from person to person, and the number of diagnoses and deaths subsequently increased significantly in the short term, which caused widespread international attention.

On April 25, 2009, the then Director-General of the World Health Organization, Chen Feng Fuzhen, announced that the epidemic was positioned as an “emergency public health incident of international concern” because of a lack of knowledge about the clinical, epidemiological and virological reports of cases .

On April 25, the number of deaths due to swine flu virus in Mexico reached 68, and there were 1004 confirmed cases nationwide, with a mortality rate of 6.7%. The death toll rose to 81 on the 26th.

The death toll reached 149 on the 27th. By May 4th, the number of diagnoses in Mexico had exceeded 5,000, and the number of deaths also rose rapidly to 416, with a mortality rate of about 8%. This high mortality rate was one of the important reasons that caused international attention.

Unlike most other influenza virus strains, most of the flu usually only causes serious symptoms in children, the elderly and people with immunity, but the swine flu in Mexico mainly attacks young and healthy adults, because the incubation period can also cause Infection, the epidemic situation is more difficult to prevent and control.

To curb the spread of the virus, the Mexican government closed most public and private facilities in Mexico City; announced national school holidays, canceled hundreds of public gatherings in the capital, and distributed 6 million masks across the country.

However, the disease continues to spread globally, and clinics in some areas are overwhelmed by infected people.

In June 2009, due to the large number of cases, WHO and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stopped counting cases and declared the disease outbreak as a "pandemic."

But one thing that catches people's attention is that, unlike the terrible mortality shown in Mexico, in countries and regions outside Mexico, the mortality rate of H1N1 flu is far less terrible.

According to the case data reported by Mexico, at the end of May 2009, the case fatality rate of the flu in Mexico reached 2%. But outside Mexico, the mortality rate is far below this level.

Taking mainland China as an example, as of December 31, 2009, a total of 123,000 cases of H1N1 influenza were diagnosed, with 714 deaths and a mortality rate of about 0.58%.

Swine Flu H1N1 Out of control

Researchers on the Flu

The researchers analyzed that the reasons for the difference in mortality data include: people's nutritional level, medical and health level, the pathogenicity of the virus after repeated transmission, and secondary infections after influenza.

However, it is generally accepted internationally that the main reason for the data anomalies is that the actual number of people infected in Mexico is much higher than the official statistics, and there are a large number of underreports, undiagnosable and unconditional diagnoses in the Mexican epidemic.

This means that if the relevant data of the initial virus outbreak area cannot be accurately counted, it is highly likely to be misleading and not conducive to the development of prevention and control.

For example, if the number of diagnoses is lower than the real data, it may cause a high mortality rate, causing social panic or overreaction by the government; if the number of deaths is lower than the real data, it may cause a low mortality rate, and mislead medical and policy levels The degree of importance.

Failure prevention

As a neighbor of Mexico, the United States is also one of the countries with the worst swine flu outbreaks.

The United States discovered the first swine flu sample on April 15, 2009, and reported it to the World Health Organization three days later. On April 25, the World Health Organization announced H1N1 as a public health emergency of international concern. Declared a state of public health emergency nationwide.

After US federal health officials announced that the United States entered a state of public health emergency, large quantities of antiviral drugs such as Tamiflu were purchased.

In addition, the United States has repeatedly promoted hand washing, non-stop hand washing, cooked pork, and wearing masks. Require patients to stay at home to isolate themselves and take protective measures.

At that time, the US President Barack Obama also made several television speeches and used strategic materials, but all this did not stop the spread of the H1N1 epidemic.

However, due to the complicated political procedures in the United States, some emergency measures such as restricting border entry and exit, traffic restrictions, and business suspension have not been implemented, and only some schools have been suspended.
Swine Flu Protections

This led to the spread of the disease not only in the United States, but also accelerated the spread of the virus throughout the world. As of July 16, 2009, there were approximately 94,000 confirmed cases and 429 deaths in the United States.

In the subsequent stage, people gradually found that the mortality rate of this virus is not very high. With the launch of influenza vaccines and special drugs and the continuous replication of the virus, the toxicity has been reduced, and the mortality rate of swine flu has remained at a very low level. , About 0.8 per thousand, similar to other influenza mortality rates.

Nowadays, this new type of influenza will break out all over the world from time to time. It is difficult for us to give this battle a high score. We must also face the reasons for the spread of swine flu epidemic in the world. The inadequate restrictions in the affected countries are what we should avoid today.

Since 2010, the annual influenza cases in the United States have been between 9 million and 45 million, and the number of influenza-related deaths has been between 12,000 and 61,000. Among them, influenza A H1N1 has accounted for a large proportion, while in other In countries and regions, H1N1 flu has also become a frequent visitor to influenza every year.

Controllable and terrible: the first line

The final result of this flu from Mexico is: An influenza virus that caused global tension eventually took root in various parts of the world. Because the mortality rate is not very different from other flus, the people of the world are also accustomed to prevention and treatment in daily life .

The scary of new viruses often lies in the unknown transmission channels, coping strategies and mortality. Once these elements of the virus are gradually understood, the terrible situation becomes preventable and controllable.

Compared with the United States, Mexico and other places where the swine flu virus raged in 2009, we have achieved regional blockades, extended holidays, full-scale publicity and full-scale mobilization of social resources.

Although there are restrictions on the production of materials during the Spring Festival holiday, it is only a matter of time to effectively control the epidemic based on the current effective measures and basic understanding of the new coronavirus.


Author's Bio

Doctor Shawna Reason, Virologist
Dr. Shawna Reason
Name: Shawna Reason

Education: MBBS, MD

Occupation: Medical Doctor / Virologist 

Specialization: Medical Science, Micro Biology / Virology, Natural Treatment

Experience: 15 Years as a Medical Practitioner

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