In the modern day and age we as a human race have not experienced a major pandemic outbreak since the days of the Spanish flu, where it is estimated that 50 million people of the worlds population was wiped out. Prompting the question, are we prepared this time round? Do we have adequate methods in place now to deal with an outbreak of such scale? Can we prevent a pandemic with the possible power to kill a substantial percentage of the world’s population?
After less than a week of the worlds attention been drawn on the outbreak of the suspected next major pandemic, swine flu, the World Health Organization (WHO) has raised the global health alert from 3 to 4 to 5. Level 5 being a pandemic is imminent and level 6 being there is a pandemic and all humanity is at risk of catching the virus. This alertness shown today is in stark contrast to that shown during the Spanish Flu. Because of strange symptoms and lack of early dialogue between health officials of different countries, the Spanish flu initially was misdiagnosed as dengue, cholera or typhoid. This lack of early diagnosis and of Spanish flu was only exacerbated by the fact there was no global coordinated effort or central health body, thus allowing for no uniformed coordinated resistance against the pandemic, like those in place today in the form of the World Health Organization. Another significant factor contributing to the lack of early awareness during the Spanish Flu was the ignorance towards the matter shown by politicians during the pandemics infancy. This however is quite different from today where governments and politicians alike acknowledge the high risk of Swine Flu becoming a global pandemic and have begun planning for the worst case scenario. Such as in Hong Kong where a whole hotel guest list has been quarantined by the
Current antiviral stockpiles suggest that if there was a major outbreak of swine flu in the world, even the most powerful affluent nations such as U.S.A, the
With the widespread economic downturn facing the world it may seem that we are financially unstable and unprepared for a pandemic outbreak. However this may be the case but we are structurally and financially more prepared than in 1918 during the Spanish flu outbreak.1918, post war depression and war weariness rocked
We as a human race, although may not seem it, are more prepared than ever to tackle a global pandemic. As a human race, we have learnt from our past confrontations with serious pandemics and have put in place necessary procedures, infrastructure and methods to best tackle any future pandemic. If the Swine Flu was to reach the strength of the Spanish Flu We are more alert, aware and prepared both financially and medically to tackle a pandemic this time round.