Apr 29, 2009 | 1
Concerned over the rapidly spreading swine flu, the World Health Organization (WHO) has upped the influenza pandemic alert to phase 5, just one step short of declaring a bona fide global pandemic.
"All countries should immediately activate their pandemic preparedness plans," said WHO Director-General Margaret Chan, calling on government ministries and manufacturers of vaccines and antiviral meds to mobilize resources immediately to deal with the rapidly evolving swine flu outbreak.
Apr 28, 2009 | 1
The World Health Organization (WHO) has confirmed swine flu cases in two more countries—the U.K. and New Zealand—bringing the total number of affected countries to at least six. Although the disease appears to be causing only mild illness in most areas (Mexico being the notable exception), experts warn the virus could still cause a catastrophic global pandemic.
Last night, there were 73 laboratory-confirmed cases of swine flu (40 in the U.S., 26 in Mexico, six in Canada, and one in Spain); the tally has since increased to 79, with one new case in Spain, two in the U.K., and three in New Zealand, Keiji Fukuda, the WHO's assistant director-general for health security and environment, told reporters this morning. Meanwhile, media outlets are reporting that Mexico may have as many as 2,000 suspected cases and 150 deaths.
Apr 27, 2009
The World Health Organization (WHO) has raised the influenza pandemic alert level to phase 4, just two steps shy of a global pandemic alert, according to Keiji Fukuda, the WHO's assistant director-general for health security and environment. And while the WHO does not recommend countries close borders or restrict travel, they are moving forward with plans to produce a swine flu vaccine as soon as possible, he told reporters in a teleconference this evening.
According to the WHO Web site, a phase 4 alert describes a viral outbreak in which human-to-human transmission is efficient and sustained enough to cause community-level outbreaks. Level 3 describes a situation in which human-to-human transmission is limited and disease cases are sporadic and occur in small clusters. (Phase 6 designates a global pandemic.) According to the WHO, there are at least 73 confirmed cases of human swine flu -- 40 in the U.S., 26 in Mexico (including seven deaths), six in Canada, and one in Spain. But Mexico has over 1000 suspected cases, according to Time Magazine, and 149 suspected deaths, according to Reuters.
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