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article imageThe swine flu pandemic is now officially over

By R. C. Camphausen     Aug 10, 2010 in Health
Geneva - In press conference today, WHO director general Dr Margaret Chan has announced an end to the H1N1 pandemic that had been declared on June 11, 2009. He added that we're now in the post-pandemic phase and that the virus has largely run its course.
The World Health Organization (WHO), based in Geneva, has officially declared an end to the pandemic concerning the H1N1 virus, popularly known as swine flu. The particular strain of virus that emerged April last year, was regarded as very dangerous and soon (June 2009) led the WHO to declare a worldwide pandemic, with fearful governments across the globe spending millions on prevention by way of vaccines.
As it turned out, the pandemic was much milder than envisioned, and resulted in 18,499 confirmed deaths, according to a Geneva based website. The worst-case scenario, according to speculations at the time, foresaw for example that 65,000 people could die in the UK alone. Now, looking back, that number was slightly exaggerated; the UK had about 450 H1N1 related deaths, reports the BBC.
In the Southern hemisphere, where it is winter right now, there are cases of H1N1, yet they seem to behave more or less like the annually occurring, seasonal flu. Seasonal flu kills up to an estimated 500,000 people a year, 90 percent of them frail elderly people, and the most recent pandemics, in 1957 and 1968, killed about two million and one million people, respectively.
A great number of scientists, and members of the public, have always maintained that the pandemic was a money-making scheme created by pharmaceutical interest who influenced the WHO decision-making process, yet this has been vehemently denied by the players involved, from the side of the WHO as well as from the companies that produced the relevant vaccines: AstraZeneca, Baxter, CSL, GlaxoSmithKline, Novartis and Sanofi-Aventis.
Today's decision comes after a three-hour session of an WHO Emergency Committee of experts, after reviewing epidemiological data about current cases, mainly from the southern hemisphere. Discussion were focused on whether or not the new phase would be called post-pandemic or post-peak. In the end, post-pandemic was the advice of the 15 experts in the committee.
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