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Swine Flu Pandemic: “More Likely, Not Inevitable”

  • April 28th, 2009
  • Posted by EUEditor

who_control_room_20090427.jpgHealth scientists and medical specialists are being called to the World Health Organisation (WHO) headquarters in Geneva, from several countries including Australia, to work on the international swine flu outbreak.

who-headquarters.jpgThe organisation has mobilised an Emergency Committee and issued a communiqué on Swine Influenza (27.4.09) announcing the upgrade of the level of seriousness of the outbreak.

It said: “The Emergency Committee, established in compliance with the International Health Regulations (2005), held its second meeting … The Committee considered available data on confirmed outbreaks of A/H1N1 swine influenza in the United States of America, Mexico, and Canada. The Committee also considered reports of possible spread to additional countries. On the advice of the Committee, the WHO Director-General has raised the level of influenza pandemic alert from the current phase 3 to phase 4.”

swine_flu_mediacenter.jpgThe WHO says the likeihood of a pandemic has increased though such a development was still classed as not inevitable.

It will “facilitate the process needed to develop a vaccine effective against A/H1N1”.

While the virus is “widespread” the WHO has not endorsed such measures as closure of borders or curtailment of air services.

The new influenza is an apparent cross of human, pig and bird strains; in Mexico where the current outbreak began, at the start of this month, more than 150 are believed to have died, (confirmations pending); it strikes at younger, healthy people, though many sufferers to date have had only a mild illness.

There have been almost 50 cases across Europe, mostly in Britain and Spain; 70 people in Australia are being tested for it.

The possibility of swine flu affecting humans has been known since 2005 but with very few cases ever recorded until now.

Reference:

AAP/ABC, Sydney, Timetable of Events: Swine Flu Outbreak.  http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2009/04/28/2554830.htm, (28.4.09).

World Health Organisation (WHO), Geneva, Home, 28.4.09. http://www.who.int/en/, (28.4.09).

 

Pictures:

WHO emergency room; Geneva headquarters – WHO 

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