Here are just a few of the many reports concerning the swine flu.
By Betsy McKay and Stephanie Simon
Wall Street Journal
Thursday, April 30, 2009
The World Health Organization warned countries Wednesday that a global pandemic from a new strain of flu appeared imminent, as the number of ill continued to grow and the first death outside Mexico was reported in Texas.
GENEVA, Switzerland (CNN) — The number of confirmed swine flu cases worldwide has risen to 154, with six additional cases reported in Spain, the World Health Organization said Thursday.
Mexico took even more drastic action to stamp out a swine flu epidemic, ordering a halt to nonessential business and federal government activities, as the World Health Organization ratcheted up its pandemic alert, warning that “all of humanity” is threatened.
LONDON (Reuters) – Dead pigs in China, evil factory farms in Mexico and an Al Qaeda plot involving Mexican drug cartels are a few wild theories seeking to explain a deadly swine flu outbreak that has killed up to 176 people.
Phase 1 no viruses circulating among animals have been reported to cause infections in humans.
In Phase 2 an animal influenza virus circulating among domesticated or wild animals is known to have caused infection in humans, and is therefore considered a potential pandemic threat.
In Phase 3, an animal or human-animal influenza reassortant virus has caused sporadic cases or small clusters of disease in people, but has not resulted in human-to-human transmission sufficient to sustain community-level outbreaks. Limited human-to-human transmission may occur under some circumstances, for example, when there is close contact between an infected person and an unprotected caregiver. However, limited transmission under such restricted circumstances does not indicate that the virus has gained the level of transmissibility among humans necessary to cause a pandemic.
Phase 4 is characterized by verified human-to-human transmission of an animal or human-animal influenza reassortant virus able to cause “community-level outbreaks.” The ability to cause sustained disease outbreaks in a community marks a significant upwards shift in the risk for a pandemic. Any country that suspects or has verified such an event should urgently consult with WHO so that the situation can be jointly assessed and a decision made by the affected country if implementation of a rapid pandemic containment operation is warranted. Phase 4 indicates a significant increase in risk of a pandemic but does not necessarily mean that a pandemic is a forgone conclusion.
Phase 5 is characterized by human-to-human spread of the virus into at least two countries in one WHO region. While most countries will not be affected at this stage, the declaration of Phase 5 is a strong signal that a pandemic is imminent and that the time to finalize the organization, communication, and implementation of the planned mitigation measures is short.
Phase 6, the pandemic phase, is characterized by community level outbreaks in at least one other country in a different WHO region in addition to the criteria defined in Phase 5. Designation of this phase will indicate that a global pandemic is under way.