WHO strategy to fight flu pandemics

12 Mars, 2019, 11:40 | Auteur: Yves Courtet
  • WHO strategy to fight flu pandemics

The World Health Organization released what it's calling the "most comprehensive and far-reaching" strategy for fighting influenza Monday, reminding the world that the threat of a pandemic is "ever-present".

WHO's new strategy, for 2019 through 2030, aims to prevent seasonal influenza, control the virus's spread from animals to humans and prepare for the next pandemic, World Health Organization said. "We must be vigilant and prepared - the cost of a major influenza outbreak will far outweigh the price of prevention". Of those infections, around 3 to 5 million are severe cases, leading to between 290,000 and 650,000 seasonal flu-related respiratory deaths.

The WHO Global Influenza Strategy for 2019-2030 urges every country to have a plan to fight influenza and contribute to global preparedness.

The world's last flu pandemic was caused by the H1N1 virus, which spread around the world in 2009 and 2010.

The world would quickly run out of flu vaccine in the event of a global pandemic despite efforts to improve production capacity, experts have warned.

Better tools to prevent, detect, control and treat both pandemic and seasonal influenza are urgently needed, said the WHO.

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It also called for the development of more effective and more accessible vaccines and antiviral treatments.

The United Nations agency recommends annual vaccinations to combat the disease, particularly for people working in health care and high-risk groups such as the old, the very young and those suffering from underlying illnesses.

Due to its mutating strains, vaccine formulas must be regularly updated and only offer limited protection now.

"In a ideal world, everyone would be vaccinated", Friede told reporters in Geneva.

"But we are still not prepared enough".

"The world is better prepared than ever before for the next big outbreak, but we are still not prepared enough", Ghebreyesus cautions.

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