Comprehensive Report of Prevention Strategy for Influenza Pandemic

Shu-Mei Chou

2008 Vol.24 NO.12

Correspondence Author: Shu-Mei Chou


Three influenza pandemics occurred during the 20th century - the Spanish flu of 1918 (H1N1), the Asian flu of 1957 (H2N2) and the Hong Kong flu of 1968 (H3N2) - which were all caused by the avian flu virus and resulted in a total of over ten million deaths. In 2003, Korea and Vietnam were hit by incidences of avian and human H5N1 flu epidemics that have not been stamped out so far. Furthermore, the avian flu has spread from Asia to Europe and Africa, prompting the World Health Organization (WHO) and leading global experts to warn of an imminent influenza pandemic. Therefore, the question about the next influenza pandemic is not a question of if, but rather a question of when, it will happen. The next influenza pandemic has become a subject of global interest and has attracted close attention from WHO and countries around the world. Here in Taiwan, the importance placed on a possible avian influenza pandemic can be seen from the fact that it is considered an issue of national security.
This article first provides a description of the avian flu, its dissemination, and the epidemics it caused in the past. Next, the current epidemic situation of H5N1 influenza in both birds and humans is examined, followed by a discussion of the strategies for coping with and preventing a worldwide influenza pandemic. Last but not least, an attempt is made to enhance public understanding of avian flu and the prevention of an influenza pandemic in Taiwan through an explanation of the national strategies for responding to such a pandemic and a discussion of key directions for future prevention measures.
Keywords:influenza, disease surveillance, H5N1 influenza virus