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It’s Official — Why Now?
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It’s Official

The ABC reports that WHO declares swine flu pandemic

The World Health Organisation has declared its first influenza pandemic in 40 years after an emergency meeting of scientific experts on the swine flu outbreak which has hit 74 countries.

The declaration comes amid growing evidence that the virus, which originated in Mexico two months ago, is now being widely transmitted between humans in Asia and Europe as well as the Americas.

Under WHO guidelines, one key criteria for declaring a pandemic is established community spread in a country outside the first region the disease was reported.

WHO chief Margaret Chan says the pandemic is in its early stages.

“This means the world is moving into the early days of its first influenza pandemic in the 21st century,” she said.

Ms Chan was careful to stress the pandemic refers to the virus’ geographical spread, not its severity.

“We also want to make clear that the higher level of the pandemic does not necessarily mean we are going to see a more dangerous virus or see many more people falling severely ill or dying,” she said.

It has been rather obvious that Australia would be the trigger, because they are in their normal flu season, the equivalent of December in the Northern Hemisphere. The H1N1 will probably the main strain for the flu season in the Fall. We will at least have a vaccine for it by that time, and hopefully soon enough to help the nations in the Southern Hemisphere.


1 Kryten42 { 06.11.09 at 7:28 pm }

Our Gov health agency monitoring the H1N1 Influenza 09 flu says the total of confirmed cases in Australia as at 1500 AEST, 11-JUNE-09, has risen to 1,263. Most are here in Victoria and is wreaking havoc with sporting events cancellations etc.

AUs. Gov. Health Emergency Bulletins – H1N1 09 Outbreak

2 Bryan { 06.11.09 at 8:07 pm }

I’m sure that the real number is much higher, as it turns out that some of us old folks were exposed to this strain back in the 1950s and apparently still have some immunity, which is why older people don’t seem to be as affected as would normally be the case with flu. Essentially when someone already exposed gets it, it looks more like a mild flu/cold, and not the full-blown cases seen among younger people.

In the US the deaths are seemingly all a result of the complications to an existing condition, a last straw, rather than the primary cause.