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2017 Commissioner’s Award
Responding to the Crisis: Canada and H1N1
Author: Paul Bretscher, Patrick Falastein, Aliciea Miller, Varena Osieck
Publication Date: 2010, 2012
On June 11, 2009 the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the first global influenza pandemic since the 1968 Hong Kong Flu. The declaration by the WHO set off global alarm bells, evoking images of widespread death and disease amongst the general public. The virus, a previously unknown H1N1 strain of swine origin, also contained genes from avian and human influenza viruses. This new virus was viewed as particularly virulent, and the general public had little natural immunity. Across the globe, fear set in. There was widespread speculation that the new virus would cripple global trade, and result in death on a biblical scale. To put it bluntly, it was feared that the H1N1 pandemic of 2009 was the next Spanish Flu.
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