The pandemic that caused panic and hours-long lineups at vaccination clinics is nearly over.
The status of the virus will likely soon be downgraded as H1N1 is behaving more like a seasonal bug than a pandemic one.
H1N1 activity has dropped significantly in the Northern Hemisphere since late last year, but the WHO notes the bug has killed 18,500 people around the world since it first emerged in the spring of 2009.
Earlier this year a 29-member panel reviewed the WHO’s response to the H1N1 flu. Some critics charged the international body sparked unnecessary fear by declaring swine flu a pandemic. Others claimed commercial interests influenced decisions.
The WHO insists the term pandemic refers to a new strain circulating around the world and doesn’t reflect the severity or danger of the bug.
The new strain of flu caused panic in the GTA and across the nation. Vaccination clinics and local health units struggled to cope with the overwhelming demand for shots.