Pandemic closer but not inevitable: Lancet

April 28, 2009

A pandemic of swine flu has edged nearer but the threat can be avoided if governments and individuals join in limiting the contagion, The Lancet said in an editorial on Tuesday.

"The world has moved closer towards a pandemic, but it is not yet inevitable," the prestigious British health journal said.

It praised "effective mechanisms" set in motion by governments and international agencies.

In the early stages of the scare, these had helped to protect the public, drawing on lessons learned from the outbreak of H5N1 earlier this decade, it said.

Even so, "the public should expect further deaths from this outbreak. The Lancet certainly expects the number of those infected to increase and the spread of infection to expand."

Looking at what should now be done, The said "containment of the outbreak is no longer feasible" and countries should focus on easing the impact of the virus on their populations.

In addition to national contingency plans, responsibility for preventing a full-blown pandemic lies with individuals, it said.

"Vigilance, and not alarm, is needed, with readiness to self-isolate oneself at home if an influenza-like illness develops. Such home isolation, combined with other measures of social distancing, are most likely to stop the spread of swine .

"These actions could buy the necessary time to boost stockpiles of antivirals and develop a vaccine against this virus, which will inevitably take months rather than weeks to prepare and distribute."

(c) 2009 AFP

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Pair of discoveries illuminate new paths to flu and anthrax treatments

October 17, 2017
Two recent studies led by biologists at the University of California San Diego have set the research groundwork for new avenues to treat influenza and anthrax poisoning.

Portable 3-D scanner assesses patients with elephantiasis

October 17, 2017
An estimated 120 million people worldwide are infected with lymphatic filariasis, a parasitic, mosquito-borne disease that can cause major swelling and deformity of the legs, a condition known as elephantiasis. Health-care ...

New tools to combat kidney fibrosis

October 16, 2017
Interstitial fibrosis – excessive tissue scarring – contributes to chronic kidney disease, which is increasing in prevalence in the United States.

How hepatitis C hides in the body

October 13, 2017
The Hepatitis C (HCV) virus is a sly enemy to have in one's body. Not only does it manage to make itself invisible to the immune system by breaking down communication between the immune cells, it also builds secret virus ...

Largest study yet of malaria in Africa shows historical rates of infection

October 12, 2017
(Medical Xpress)—A team of researchers with members from the Kenya Medical Research Institute, the University of Oxford and the University of KwaZulu-Natal has conducted the largest-ever study of the history of malaria ...

Promising new target for treatment of psoriasis is safe, study shows

October 11, 2017
A protein known to play a significant role in the development of psoriasis can be prevented from functioning without posing a risk to patients, scientists at King's College London have found.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.