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Commentary
June 10, 2009

Influenza A(H1N1) and Pandemic Preparedness Under the Rule of International Law

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law, Georgetown University, Washington, DC.

JAMA. 2009;301(22):2376-2378. doi:10.1001/jama.2009.849

A novel strain of influenza A(H1N1) spread rapidly through Mexico in April 2009 and now spans the globe. By the time the World Health Organization (WHO) was notified and had responded, geographical containment was not feasible, leading the agency to call for mitigation.1 Early indications are that the first wave may not be as widespread or pathogenic as originally feared, but this influenza strain could evolve to become more dangerous in subsequent waves, as did the 1918 Spanish influenza that killed some 50 million individuals.

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