WHO Declares H1N1 Virus Spread A Pandemic

WHO has declared that the spread of the H1N1 (swine) flu virus has reached pandemic level, the AP/Google.com reports (AP/Google.com, 6/11). The Phase 6 pandemic alert indicates that two regions of the world are experiencing significant outbreaks, according to the Wall Street Journal.  The declaration came after WHO held an emergency meeting Thursday about raising the threat level.  The Wall Street Journal writes that the WHO wants to “eliminate misunderstandings about the virus to prevent overreactions in some countries” (Esterl, Wall Street Journal, 6/11).

According to Bloomberg, leaders from six countries infected with the H1N1 virus were briefed by the WHO yesterday and “asked for information on cases and measures taken to mitigate the disease” (Gill/Gale, Bloomberg, 6/11). WHO spokesman Dick Thompson told Reuters that WHO Director-General Margaret Chan “is looking for some detailed epidemiological explanation for what is going on.” Reuters writes, “Chan had sought further information from some countries to clarify news reports that they were detecting sustained transmission of the new virus in the community, and not just imported cases, [Thompson] said” (Nebehay, Reuters, 6/10).

According to the WHO, 74 countries have officially reported 27,737 cases of H1N1 infection, including 141 deaths. Specific country information is available here (WHO Influenza A(H1N1) – update 46, 6/10).

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