Looking back at Mexico’s H1N1 virus pandemic

23/04/2019
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14:08
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Newsroom
Looking back at Mexico’s H1N1 virus pandemic
The influenza pandemic cost the country little more than USD$9 billion, the equivalent of 1% of the country’s GDP in 2008 - Photo: Gregory Bull/AP

Looking back at Mexico’s H1N1 virus pandemic

23/04/2019
14:08
Newsroom
Mexico City
Rocío Mundo & Perla Miranda/EL UNIVERSAL
-A +A
Ten years have passed since 72,548 people in Mexico became sick with the A-H1N1 influenza virus

Ten years have passed since 72,548 people in Mexico became sick with the A-H1N1 influenza virus, often called swine flu. The disease spread between April 2009 and August 2010 and was considered the first pandemic of the 21st century.

The disease mostly affected Mexican youth, which raised concern among doctor and epidemiologists of the World Health Organization and the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO).

A document by the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) identified a little boy from the La Gloria community in the Perote municipality of the Mexican state of Veracruz as the first swine flu case. The minor had fallen ill during the first week of April and his test was positive for A-H1N1 influenza.

“The first deaths caused by the disease were registered here in Mexico, though in fact there had been a report two to three weeks earlier from the U.S. Center of Infectious Diseases’ epidemiological bulletin that noted pediatric cases in California and Texas,” stated José Luis Sandoval, a pulmonologist and influenza consultant for the WHO and the PAHO.

The influenza pandemic cost the country little more than USD$9 billion, the equivalent of 1% of the country’s GDP in 2008, according to data from the Ministry of Health.

Is Mexico ready for another pandemic?

A decade has passed since the A-H1N1 pandemic struck Mexico and the former national commissioner for influenza in Mexico, Alejandro Macías, claims that it is not only possible, but highly probable for a new epidemic to develop. A few weeks ago, the WHO warned of a worldwide outbreak of a new form of flu virus. “It is only a matter of time before we see its effects,” he claimed.

“Though this new outbreak mutates little by little, it presents larger mutations once in a while, which could lead to a pandemic. These strains usually emerge every few decades, though it could actually occur at any time,” Macías explained.

“Humanity can never be 100% prepared for an epidemic of any kind because there are always new conditions, as well as demographic, and social changes,” stated Sandoval.
 

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