Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Phase 6 pandemic alert for swine flu?

According to several news sources, World Health Organization's (WHO) Margaret Chan may declare a Phase 6 pandemic alert for the H1N1 virus today in Geneva. It is spreading rapidly in other continents besides north America, which should result in the pandemic alert upgrade.

The virus is spreading in the southern hemisphere during its winter season, and Australia is experiencing rapid infection rates. It should hit the northern hemisphere especially hard in the fall, although Canada has had a huge jump in cases already. The concern is that there are many more unconfirmed cases, as authorities are no longer undergoing extensive testing.

The avian virus (H5N1) is far more lethal, with a 60% mortality rate, while the H1N1 is virulent, if not as lethal. H1N1 human to human transmission is quickly spreading across borders, and medical authorities are concerned that a mutation of the season flu, avian flu, or swine flu could make new strains virulent AND lethal.

A Phase 6 pandemic alert will restrict trade and travel, further deteriorating world economies, but it may be necessary to control the spread of these flu viruses. It will take a massive cooperative effort from medical agencies worldwide to control the spread of these potentially deadly viruses. Stay healthy.

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