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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

WHO raises pandemic alert level

Blessed be everyone. I wanted to share this story with everyone. I think it is important that we should know what is going on, and what is (or is not) being done
about this potentially dangerous situation. Our health is most important as is the health of our loved ones.

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WHO raises pandemic alert level

The UN's World Health Organization has raised the alert over the spread of swine flu to level five - one short of a full-blown pandemic.

A phase five alert means human-to-human transmission in at least two countries.

The move comes after a 23-month-old Mexican child died in Texas - the first death from swine flu outside Mexico, where the outbreak originated.

In Spain, officials confirmed the first case of swine flu in a person who has not travelled to Mexico.

Announcing the latest alert level after an emergeny WHO meeting in Geneva, Director General Margaret Chan urged all countries to activate their pandemic plans, including heightened surveillance and infection-control measures.


CONFIRMED CASES

Mexico: 159 suspected deaths - seven confirmed cases
US: one death, at least 91 confirmed cases
Canada: 13 confirmed cases
UK: 5 confirmed cases
Spain: 10 confirmed cases
Germany, New Zealand: 3 confirmed cases each
Israel: 2 confirmed cases
Austria: 1 case

She said action should be undertaken with "increased urgency".

She added: "It really is the whole of humanity that is under threat in a pandemic."

The Mexican boy fell ill during a visit to relatives in southern Texas earlier this month.

He was transferred to a hospital in Houston, where he died on Monday night.

Speaking in Washington, President Barack Obama offered his condolences and said the federal government was doing the utmost to contain the virus.

He also urged local public-health bodies to be vigilant and said schools with confirmed cases "should consider closing".

Officials put the number of suspected deaths from swine flu in Mexico at 159.

Texas Governor Rick Perry said closing the US border with Mexico was an option, but added that taking that step now would be "a little premature".

Spanish case

Since the virus emerged last week, it has also spread to Canada, Europe, Israel, and New Zealand.

Several countries have restricted travel to Mexico and many tour operators have cancellled holidays.


SYMPTOMS - WHAT TO DO

Swine flu symptoms are similar to those produced by ordinary seasonal flu - fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, chills and fatigue
If you have flu symptoms and recently visited affected areas of Mexico, you should seek medical advice
If you suspect you are infected, you should stay at home and take advice by telephone initially, in order to minimise the risk of infection

France will ask the European Union on Thursday to suspend all flights going to Mexico because of the flu outbreak, Health Minister Roselyne Bachelot said.

In Spain, the government said the first person to contract swine flu without having travelled to Mexico was the boyfriend of a young woman who had recently returned from there.

Spanish Health Minister Trinidad Jimenez said such cases were to be expected.

In total, the number of confirmed cases in Spain rose from two to 10 on Wednesday. None of the patients is seriously ill.

In Mexico, the search for the source of the outbreak continues, with the focus on the vicinity of a pig farm in the eastern part of the country.

The Mexican government is urging against jumping to conclusions and is suggesting the possibility remains that the virus originated outside the country.

Schools across Mexico have closed, public gatherings are restricted and archaeological sites have been placed off-limits.



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Story from BBC NEWS

1 comment:

Lily Wyte said...

Public interest is a funny thing. At first you couldn't get people to notice people were dying in Mexico. Then everyone got real scared and you were hearing it everywhere. Now people seem to have gone into denial about it, or lost interest. Sort of reminds me of people who go to car races hoping for a crash and lots of drama... if it isn't happening they quickly loose interest.

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