Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:


Council of Europe condemns “unjustified scare” over swine flu

BMJ 2010; 340 doi: (Published 07 June 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;340:c3033

Rapid Response:

Better safe than sorry

Hindsight truly is a wonderful thing and can make even the
best of intentions seem foolish. While it is easy to criticize
the perhaps overaggressive approach of the entire world to the
H1N1 outbreak, I believe that it was this aggressive approach
that limited spread and saved lives. The concern was
definitely justified particularly when faced with a pathogen
of unknown virulence especially especially following the
tragic Spanish flu epidemic of 1918 which cost anywhere from
50 to 100 million lives. It is unlikely that at an early stage
of the pandemic that anyone could have predicted that the
pathogen was in fact less virulent than initially feared. An
over cautious approach is justified in such situations even at
the burden of additional expense.

Competing interests:
None declared

Competing interests: No competing interests

14 June 2010
Yogesh N.V. Reddy
Final year medical student
Varun Sundaram, Yuvaram N.V. Reddy
Madras Medical College