The EU Health Commissioner recommends avoiding non-essential travel to Mexico, and the first case of this variant of swine flu in Europe has been reported in Spain. The WHO has already got its Emergency Committee working; they had their first meeting on Saturday. And the Organization’s web site has an admirably complete set of links – background info, audio of the press briefing and conference, and their long-standing guidance on pandemic preparedness and response. There’s good background at the Flu Wiki.
There’s good news and bad news in this older AFOE post that talks about H5N1 and reviews an excellent book on the Spanish influenza of 1918. The short version: the social conditions that contributed to the death toll of 1918 are not present today; monitoring and international cooperation are much, much better. On the other hand, high mortality among younger adults (rather than among infants and the elderly) is a potential common element of the Spanish flu and this year’s swine flu.
Looks like we’re about to find out how much all the awareness raising and contingency planning that was done for H5N1 was worth.