Comments on H1N1 from The Lancet
Swine influenza: how much of a global threat?
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The public should expect further deaths from this swine influenza outbreak. The Lancet certainly expects the number of those infected to increase and the spread of infection to expand.
Therefore, all recommendations made so far should be seen as provisional.
We are passing through an unstable period in this outbreak’s evolution.
Every member of the public has a part to play in limiting the risk of a full-blown pandemic.
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 influenza.
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.
So far, the rapid responses by governments and international agencies have triggered effective mechanisms to protect the public.
But the vital role and responsibility of the individual should not be ignored.