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SYDNEY, Australia (AP) — Southern hemisphere countries that have largely escaped swine flu infections could soon become more vulnerable, experts warn, as the approaching winter brings with it an elevated risk of the virus spreading and mutating.
So far, the worst affected nations — such as Mexico, the United States, Canada and countries in Europe — have been in the northern hemisphere, which is heading into summer. To the south of the equator, cooler weather is imminent.
"The highest peaks of influenza activity occur in winter," said Raina MacIntyre, head of the University of New South Wales' School of Public Health and Community Medicine. "For us in the southern hemisphere, it's particularly concerning."
It is already fall in Australia, and winter sets in by June.
SWINE FLU UPDATE
current as of: May 4, 2009 (11:30am)
Florida has five confirmed cases; two in Lee , one in Broward, one in Orange County , and one in Pinellas.
The second Lee County confirmation is a 7 year old male who attends Spring Creek Elementary School.
The Pinellas County confirmed case is 24 year old male.
Alachua, Lee, Charlotte, Indian River, Okeechobee, and Clay have one probable case each.
Palm Beach has two probable cases and Miami Dade has three.
Hillsborough County has five probable cases.
A public health emergency was declared by the State Surgeon General.
A toll free information line has been established to address an increasing number of calls from the public requesting Swine Flu information.
Originally posted by mamana
There's a lot of references to a phase 2 being worse than phase 1. I wonder though, are we definitely in phase 1 right now??? I am not convinced that we are because many on here, myself included, have been sick with exactly these symptoms within the last few months. Could this be phase 2 now?
Can any of the people with contacts tell us whether it is believed that this is actually phase 1?
Agence France Presse
Mexico City: The World Health Organisation chief warned today that swine flu could return with a vengeance despite Mexico’s President Felipe Calderon insisting his country has contained the epidemic. WHO chief Margaret Chan said in a newspaper interview that a second wave of the virus “would be the biggest of all outbreaks the world has faced in the 21st century”, puncturing optimism emanating from the outbreak’s epicentre. Diplomatic damage from the epidemic also reverberated with China denying it had discriminated against Mexican nationals after dozens were placed under quarantine over the weekend despite showing no signs of the flu. Twenty-five people have died from swine flu, according to the WHO which estimates there are nearly 900 cases in 20 countries. All but one of the deaths has been in Mexico. Calderon said Mexico had managed “to contain the epidemic” and was now “in a position to overcome” the A(H1N1) virus. Mexico’s Health Minister Jose Angel Cordova said the epidemic peaked between April 23 and 28 and was “in its phase of decline”. But Chan said the end of the flu season in the northern hemisphere meant that while any initial outbreak could be milder, a second wave could be more lethal, reflecting a pattern seen with the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic that killed up to 50 million people. “We hope the virus fizzles out, because if it doesn’t we are heading for a big outbreak,” Chan told the Financial Times, adding it could re-emerge in the months ahead “with a vengeance”. “I’m not predicting the pandemic will blow up, but if I miss it and we don’t prepare, I fail. I’d rather over-prepare than not prepare.” The UN agency last week raised its alert level to five, one a scale of one to six, indicating a global pandemic is imminent. In an interview with Spain’s El Pais newspaper, Chan said it was important to avoid a “wave of panic” if the alert level was raised to the maximum six, adding that such a move would not mean “the end of the world”.