The Pandemic is Over

Relax, no need to pandemic
No more pandemic

Flickr, by Sir Sabbhat

Relax, no need to pandemic

The World Health Organization has declared the H1N1 “swine flu” flu pandemic (the one you forgot was happening) as officially over.

So what did we learn from this episode? Did we just luck out, as WHO officials say?

Or was it alarmist? Some critics even said the WHO’s refusal to stand down from their pandemic alert level — once it appeared to be milder than expected — was prompted by the desire to appease the drug makers who had responded to the alert by producing massive amounts of drugs and vaccines.

That seems a bit too conspiratorial. But it’s clear the world community needs to come up with a better way to respond to the unpredictable threat of pandemic flu — beginning with a clear definition of what is, and is not, a pandemic.

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Tom Paulson

Tom Paulson is founder and lead journalist at Humanosphere. Prior to operating this online news site, he reported on science,  medicine, health policy, aid and development for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Contact him at tom[at]humanosphere.org or follow him on Twitter @tompaulson.