Author(s): Cheng VC, To KK, Tse H, Hung IF, Yuen KY
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Abstract The world had been anticipating another influenza pandemic since the last one in 1968. The pandemic influenza A H1N1 2009 virus (A/2009/H1N1) finally arrived, causing the first pandemic influenza of the new millennium, which has affected over 214 countries and caused over 18,449 deaths. Because of the persistent threat from the A/H5N1 virus since 1997 and the outbreak of the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) coronavirus in 2003, medical and scientific communities have been more prepared in mindset and infrastructure. This preparedness has allowed for rapid and effective research on the epidemiological, clinical, pathological, immunological, virological, and other basic scientific aspects of the disease, with impacts on its control. A PubMed search using the keywords "pandemic influenza virus H1N1 2009" yielded over 2,500 publications, which markedly exceeded the number published on previous pandemics. Only representative works with relevance to clinical microbiology and infectious diseases are reviewed in this article. A significant increase in the understanding of this virus and the disease within such a short amount of time has allowed for the timely development of diagnostic tests, treatments, and preventive measures. These findings could prove useful for future randomized controlled clinical trials and the epidemiological control of future pandemics.
This article was published in Clin Microbiol Rev
and referenced in Emergency Medicine: Open Access