posted on Apr, 29 2009 @ 04:18 PM
April 29, 2009
The World Health Organization raised its pandemic alert for swine flu to the second highest level Wednesday, meaning that it believes a global
outbreak of the disease is imminent.
WHO Director-General Margaret Chan declared the phase 5 alert after consulting with flu experts from around the world. The decision could lead the
global body to recommend additional measures to combat the outbreak, including for vaccine manufacturers to switch production from seasonal flu
vaccines to a pandemic vaccine.
“All countries should immediately now activate their pandemic preparedness plans,” Chan told reporters in Geneva. “It really is all of humanity
that is under threat in a pandemic.”
A phase 5 alert means there is sustained transmission among people in at least two countries. Once the virus shows effective transmission in two
different regions of the world a full pandemic outbreak would be declared.
WHO has confirmed human cases of swine flu in Mexico, the United States, Canada, Britain, Israel, New Zealand and Spain. Mexico and the U.S. have
“It is important to take this very seriously,” Chan told a press conference watched around the globe on Wednesday.
As fear and uncertainty about the disease ricocheted around the globe, nations took all sorts of precautions, some more useful than others.