2009 Influenza Pandemic: U.S. Responses to Global Human Cases [June 23,2009]   [open pdf - 427KB]

"In April 2009, a novel influenza virus began to spread around the world. [...] Throughout this report, the virus is referred to as H1N1. The virus does not appear to be as lethal as H5N1 avian influenza--which reemerged in 2005--but is slightly more lethal than seasonal flu. Although the virus has been characterized as a pandemic, researchers can not [sic] predict how virulent the virus will be ultimately. As of June 22, 2009, WHO confirmed that more than 50,000 human cases of H1N1 had occurred in more than 80 countries and territories, including 231 deaths. [...] About 87% of all deaths have occurred in Mexico (49%) and the United States (38%). The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), and WHO agree that there is no risk of contracting the virus from consuming well-cooked pork or pork products. WHO asserts that limiting travel and imposing travel restrictions would minimally affect the spread of the virus, but would be highly disruptive to the global community. The strain of H1N1 circulating the globe is treatable with two antiviral drugs, oseltamivir (brand name Tamiflu) and zanamivir (brand name Relenza), though there is no available vaccine. [...] While health experts have made considerable gains against the disease, questions remain. Some health experts are concerned that poorer countries may not yet have the capacity to sufficiently monitor and respond to H1N1. Others warn that H1N1 transmission might accelerate in winter months. Questions still remain about whether the disease can change or reassort, particularly in countries simultaneously contending with H5N1 bird flu cases occur (such as Egypt, Vietnam, and Indonesia)."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, R40588
Public Domain
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