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Raising pandemic alert level to 6 still possible: WHO
3 May 2009, 0615 hrs IST, IANS
GENEVA: The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Saturday that the risk of a pandemic caused by the A/H1N1 virus was still very high and
there was still the possibility to raise the alert level to Phase 6 from the current Phase 5.
"At the present time, I would still propose that a pandemic is imminent because we are seeing the disease spread," Michael Ryan, the agency's director for global alert and response, told a news briefing in Geneva.
"This is the time for us to prepare, and be ready," he said.
The WHO's current pandemic alert level remains at Phase 5, which is characterized by human-to-human spread of the virus in two or more countries in only one WHO region.
Currently the sustained spread of the virus is still confined to the region of North America, notably Mexico and the US.
Although human cases have also been confirmed in Europe and Asia, there is still no evidence suggesting that sustained community outbreaks have occurred in the two regions, according to the WHO official.
Ryan warned that the possibility to raise to pandemic alert Phase 6, which means sustained community outbreaks in North America, cannot be ruled out.
"At this point, we have to expect that Phase 6 will be reached, and we have to hope that it is not reached," he said.
Mexico, the epicenter of the outbreak, has officially reported 397 confirmed human cases of infection, including 16 deaths. The US government has reported 160 laboratory confirmed human cases, including one death.
"Pandemics are serious," he said, but it is important to note they describe "the geographic spread of the disease, not its severity."
However, he cautioned against reports that indicate the virus may be weaker than originally thought.
"I'd be very pleased if it turns out that this virus is weaker than it could be. I'd be the happiest man in the world. However, I think history has told us that these viruses are very, very, very unpredictable."
More at Link...
WHO confirming backlog of suspected H1N1 cases *update*
updated 30 minutes ago
GENEVA, Switzerland (CNN) -- The World Health Organization began distributing antiviral doses to 70 nations Saturday as the number of confirmed cases of swine flu rose to 659 across the globe.
The increase in confirmed cases was attributed to completed testing of numerous backlogged suspected cases in Mexico, where the flu strain scientifically known as H1N1 is believed to have originated, WHO officials said.
Mexico has the most confirmed cases, with 397 infected people, and 16 deaths attributed to the virus, WHO said. Mexico's health minister said Saturday that his nation's total had reached 443, although that number was not reflected in the WHO's total.
"What the increase reflects is that we are moving forward in confirming many of the cases that have been left untested for some time, so in an way that's reassuring," WHO spokesman Paul Garwood said.
Originally posted by Hx3_1963
They're seeing what's going on also, with the back door stuff, but, are actually doing something about it, unlike us, the land of the free and the home of the brave...Hmmm...
What has become of us?
It is no longer possible to contain the deadly swine flu virus first found in Mexico, the World Health Organization (WHO) says. As a potential pandemic edges closer, governments around the world have been stepping up precautions against its spread.