Now considered a seasonal flu for which vaccinations are administered, H1N1 swept through the globe in 2009, killing up to 18,000 people. On 10 August 2010, the World Health Organization announced the end of the H1N1 pandemic, but at least 225 people have been infected in the most recent outbreak in the Palestinian territories.
The PA Health Ministry said in a statement that 25,000 residents have been inoculated this year and that they have “the necessary medicines, testing kits and equipment to deal efficiently with the spread of the virus.”
The Israeli government is watching the outbreak carefully, but no drastic measures are planned, according to The Jerusalem Post. Dozens of Israelis and Palestinians died during the 2009 H1N1 influenza outbreak that was first discovered in Mexico.
It was also because of this outbreak that Egypt culled all of the Zabaleen pigs, which used to process Cairo’s organic waste.
While health officials appear to have a grip on H1N1, scientists have warned that global warming makes conditions more amenable to superbugs that will become increasingly resistant to antibiotics, which means that we should expect further outbreaks in the future.
Meanwhile, research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS) reveals that immunization against the life-threatening influenza virus may not be panacea.
Image of a sick child, Shutterstock