Pay Attention to Pandemic Not Panic

September 5th, 2009 healthwiki

The novel H1N1 influenza A virus spreads four times faster than other viruses and creates much panic all over the world. The rising number of cases every day and increase in death rate in some countries made it a serious concern. But experts in influenza and infectious disease are still saying the exact level of danger from the virus is still far from certain.

In most cases, the disease manifestation is just regular influenza. It is something that happens every year. It is self limiting and most people recover soon without any medication. H1N1 is a major concern for people with chronic diseases like diabetes, cancer and also for children and extreme aged.

The scientists who study outbreaks say that A(H1N1) is not the deadliest strain out there. The case-fatality (the percentage of people who got the disease and did not survive) is still very low. While case fatality for severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) reached more than 15 percent, bird flu reached higher to 60 percent, but it is only about 1 percent worldwide with a maximum fatality in Mexico is about 10 percent.

Moreover, we have drugs (Oseltamivir and Zanamivir) in our hand now to fight in the initial phase that we did not have in the previous large flu outbreaks.

Although there are positive reasons not to panic, we should be concern deeply with the risk and potential danger of H1N1 that may occur in near future. If we track back to Spanish influenza, we see that it began as a mild strain, and then turned horrifically virulent, killing 20 million to 100 million people in 1918-19.

The risk could be reduced or eliminated by exercising personal control like hygiene practice. It is worth remembering that worry itself is a risk, a stress that can undermine health and happiness. We need not to be panicked but always have to take these things seriously.

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