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Archive for Monday, May 18, 2009

WHO eyes swine flu transmission rates

May 18, 2009

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Swine Flu Pandemic

An outbreak of H1N1 Swine Flu was reported in Mexico in April 2009. By the end of May, it had spread across the U.S., with all 50 states reporting cases.

— Health experts are looking very closely at the spread of swine flu among people in Spain, Britain and Japan, a WHO official said Sunday as Japan reported a one-day explosion of more than 70 new cases, mostly among teenagers.

The swine flu epidemic is already expected to dominate the World Health Organization’s annual meeting, a five-day event that begins today in Geneva and involves health officials from the agency’s 193 member states.

WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan will reveal experts’ recommendations on the production of a swine flu vaccine sometime at the meeting. Pharmaceutical companies are ready to begin production, but many decisions have to be made first — such as how much vaccine to make, how it should be distributed and who should get it.

As of Sunday, the swine flu virus — which WHO calls the A (H1N1) virus — has sickened at least 8,480 people in 40 countries, killing 75 of them, mostly in Mexico.

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