The W.H.O. Considering a Swine Flu Pandemic Alert

The World Health Organization (W.H.O.) is on the verge of declaring swine flu a global pandemic.  That’s Level 6, the highest possible.swine-flu_682_801667a

With the disease now in 64 nations worldwide, dozens and even hundreds of cases have occurred in countries such as Great Britain, Spain, Japan, Chile and Australia.  Right now, Southern Hemisphere countries are under the W.H.O.’s microscope because it’s the start of their winter and another strain of the H1N1 virus was widespread there last year and is resistant to Tamiflu, Roche AG’s flu pill, as are most common strains of flu.

Before raising the alert to Level 6, the W.H.O. will have to present evidence of extensive “community transmission”.  This means that the flu is being diagnosed on two continents and in cases other than travelers, schools and immediate contacts.  If swine flu is eventually declared a Level 6 pandemic, the W.H.O. may add a qualification that the disease is not especially deadly.  Only 117 swine flu deaths have been reported worldwide.  The flu has been diagnosed in all 50 of the United States.

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