A Review of Response Measures Against the First Wave of Pandemic Influenza Outbreaks in Taiwan and Other Countries

Yu-Min Chou

2009 Vol.25 NO.8

Correspondence Author: Yu-Min Chou


The 2009 influenza pandemic started in April, when the United States’ CDC found a novel influenza A (H1N1) case. The World Health Organization (WHO) then confirmed that the epidemic had been occurred in Mexico since late March. WHO raised the global pandemic alert to phase 4, phase 5 and phase 6 on April 28, April 30 and June 11, respectively.
Most countries have been able to respond to H1N1 outbreaks rapidly based on preparedness measures taken in recent years. The responses of Mexico, United States, Japan, United Kingdom, Australia, Hong Kong, China, and Singapore are described in this article. It also outlines Taiwan’s measures against the emergence of the new virus overseas, the effects of relevant media coverage, public reactions, case management, and preparedness activities for the coming autumn and winter.
Measures to control an influenza pandemic include medical (vaccination and medication) and non-medical. Non-medical measures, like patient isolation, contact quarantine and social distancing, have been implemented by many countries in the first wave of the 2009 pandemic. Experiences from other countries reveal that all measures should base on scientific evidence. The intensity and practical steps taken to implement the measures also vary with pandemic phases and resources in different countries. Hence, strategies for pandemic control have to be flexible and promptly modified according to the latest information. A strong governance system and effective communication mechanism are also necessary.
In the autumn and winter seasons of 2009-2010, influenza will pose a rigorous challenge for the health-care system. The decision-making and implementation of social distancing measures will test the authorities’ capabilities. The global activities of H1N1 influenza virus should be constantly monitored, and assistance needs to be provided to communities in building their self-care capabilities. Continuity plans must also be promoted in both the public and private sectors.
Keywords: influenza A (H1N1), pandemic influenza