Does the Swine Flu really have the makings of an epidemic? Yes.
I do think that we have seen a robust response to Swine Flu, sometimes bordering on panic. Much of this seems like overkill. However, first analyses of the H1N1 virus suggest this response is entirely warranted:
H1N1 swine flu is spreading fast enough to justify calling it a pandemic, say epidemiologists who’ve analysed the pattern of spread so far.
“The message is that the epidemic is spreading very much as expected based on past flu epidemics,” says Christophe Fraser of Imperial College London, and co-leader of the analysis team.
The results suggest that the H1N1 virus is showing “sustained human-to-human transmission”, thereby justifying the WHO’s pandemic phase 5 rating, one short of the most severe.
Read more at New Scientist.
Having read John Barry’s “The Great Influenza,” about the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918-1920, I think it bears remembering that the first probable incidents of flu were recorded in February 1918. It wasn’t until October that the virus’ true epidemic proportions were registered. One-third of the deaths were registered in mid-September to December.
Even if all seems well with the Swine Flu, I sleep better at night knowing continued vigilance is still the order of the day.
First analysis of swine flu spread supports pandemic plan – New Scientist