Influenza A(H1N1): a timeline
The following is a timeline of the spread of swine flu, officially known as influenza A(H1N1), after the World Health Organisation on Tuesday announced the end of the pandemic, more than a year after it was declared.
- April 24: The WHO announces that around 800 suspected cases of so-called swine flu have been recorded in Mexico, along with seven cases in the United States.
- April 25: The WHO warns that the virus, identified as a member of the H1N1 family, has "pandemic potential."
- April 26: Health authorities step up vigilance measures around the world.
- April 27: First three cases are confirmed in Europe. The WHO raises its level of alert to four from three on a scale of six.
- April 28: The first cases in the Middle East.
- April 29: A 23-month-old Mexican child is the first confirmed fatality in the United States. The WHO raises its alert level to five and calls for preparations for an "imminent" pandemic.
- April 30: WHO adopts the term "influenza A(H1N1)" after veterinary experts point out that the virus is not occurring among pigs.
- May 2: The virus makes its appearance in Asia.
- May 20: The WHO says that A(H1N1) has officially contaminated 10,243 people in 41 countries and killed 80 people.
- June 11: The WHO raises its alert to the maximum level six and declares A(H1N1) the first flu pandemic of the 21st century. The UN body calls on pharmaceutical laboratories to produce vaccines against the virus.
- June 14: One death in Scotland, the first death outside the American continent.
- June 29: Denmark reports the first case of resistance to Tamiflu, considered to be the most effective treatment for the flu by the WHO. The virus continues to spread throughout the world with 11,000 new cases in three days.
- July 17: The WHO says that the swine flu pandemic is moving around the globe at an "unprecedented" speed.
- August 28: The WHO says that the swine flu virus has supplanted other viruses to establish itself as the most prevalent strain of flu.
- September 21: China becomes the first country in the world to launch a mass vaccination campaign.
- September 24: The WHO drops its forecast of needed vaccines to three billion doses from five billion a year.
- October 30: The flu has killed at least 5,700 people around the world, hitting in particular the northern hemisphere where vaccination campaigns are being put into place with the approach of winter.
- December 18: The number of dead passes 10,000, according to the WHO.
- January 22: The WHO says the pandemic is in decline. It has killed at least 14,000 people around the world since emerging.
- April 21: A year after the outbreak, the epidemic has spread to 213 countries and territories. The WHO and national health authorities come under criticism for dramatising the threat of the flu and for the billions of dollars (euros) spent on buying medicines and vaccines.
- June 8: WHO chief Margaret Chan denies that she has been influenced by pharmaceutical firms in managing the flu crisis and denies allegations of a conflict of interest.
- August 10: The WHO declares the pandemic over.
© 2010 AFP