H1N1, Globalization and the Epidemiology of Inequality

Article appearing in Health and Place, Volume 18. Issue 4

  • Date: July, 2012

This paper examines the lessons learned from the 2009 H1N1 pandemic in relation to wider work on globalization and the epidemiology of inequality. The media attention and economic resources diverted to the threats posed by H1N1 were significant inequalities themselves when contrasted with weaker responses to more lethal threats posed by other diseases associated with global inequality. However, the multiple inequalities revealed by H1N1 itself in 2009 still provide important insights into the future of global health in the context of market-led globalization. These lessons relate to at least four main forms of inequality: (1) inequalities in blame for the outbreak in the media; (2) inequalities in risk management; (3) inequalities in access to medicines; and (4) inequalities encoded in the actual emergence of new flu viruses.