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Level 6: H1N1 Pandemic

  • June 12th, 2009
  • Posted by EUEditor

influenza-masks.jpgThe World Health Organisation in Geneva has declared the first influenza epidemic in over 40 years, placing the H1N1 virus at Level six, top of its epidemic scale.

The move follows a new surge of cases especially in Australia.

The WHO  (12.6.09) cited confirmations of the infection, called Influenza A – H1N1, in 74 countries.

It has stressed that pandemic status reflects geographical spread not intensity of the disease, which at this stage is mild, rarely causing death.

To date 28774 cases have been listed globally, more than 22000 of those in North America, followed by two countries experiencing an upsurge with the start of the Southern Winter – Chile with 1694, and Australia with 1307.

In Australia several schools have been closed and contamination has started to seriously disrupt top level sports, with cancellation of one swimming event and uncertainty over weekend contests in the Rugby League.

More than 1000 of the influenza cases have occurred in or close to Melbourne.

Australian health authorities have ordered large stocks of influenza vaccine but have followed international practice in not moving to close borders or set up mass quarantine.

Reference:
World Health Organisation (WHO), Geneva, 12.6.09; “World now at start of 2009 influenza pandemic”; “Influenza A (H1N1) Update 47”. www.who.int, (12.6.09).

Phoebe Sedgman and Joanna Cooney, “Australian swine flu tally rises …”, Bloomberg, Sydney, 9.6.09. www.bloomberg.com, (12.6.09).

Picture: WHO

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