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Revista médica de Chile

versión impresa ISSN 0034-9887


SPENCER O., Eugenio. Chronicle of an announced pandemic?. Rev. méd. Chile [online]. 2005, vol.133, n.9, pp.999-1001. ISSN 0034-9887.

In the last years our country has been affected by several outbreaks of infectious diseases such as Cholera and Hanta virus and recently, by pathogens associated to red tide. Chile was able to manage those emergencies using the local health system. The new threat that may emerge and could eventually overcome that capacity, is the possible H5N1 influenza virus outbreak. Influenza is responsible for the most destructive pandemic, the Spanish influenza, that killed over 40 million individuals in 1918. The new influenza strain (H5N1) is at present endemic in poultry in Asia and has been associated to human fatal cases in Hong Kong and Vietnam. Even though this strain is not able yet to be transmitted among humans, evidence has accumulated that such ability could be reached by the new strain, since it was already detected in pigs. That particular evidence may indicate that the virus could adapt to infect humans, since a similar situation was observed in several of the influenza pandemics. The World Health Organization set a "task force" to develop a strategy that may help to control the virus spread. Several countries are already stocking anti-flu drugs and others are developing new vaccine that are currently been assayed in human volunteers. It is possible that we may have a vaccine before the outbreak; this development is even faster than for SARS. The mayor question to be addressed for developing countries is: What will be done if we do not have the vaccine on time? (Rev Méd Chile 2005; 133: 999-1001).

Palabras clave : Influenza virus; Orthomyxoviridae; Viral vaccines.

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