Wednesday, April 29, 2009

WHO: Influenza A/H1N1 Pandemic 'Imminent'

WASHINGTON, DC -- 29 April 2009 -- Today, the World Health Organization (WHO) raised the pandemic alert level from 4 to 5, signaling an influenza A/H1N1 pandemic is imminent. The move prompts countries around the world to start implementing their national pandemic plans. Alert level 6 indicates a global pandemic.

In the United States, sustained human-to-human transmission is clear as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report additional confirmed infections, hospitalisations, and the country's first fatality from the outbreak - a 24-month-old Mexican child . Richard Besser, MD, acting director of the CDC, confirmed 10 US states are now affected:

New York: 51
Texas: 16
California: 14
Kansas: 2
Massachusetts: 2
Michigan: 2
Arizona: 1
Indiana: 1
Nevada: 1
Ohio: 1

CDC says that the more recent illnesses and the reported death in Texas suggest that a pattern of more severe illness associated with this virus may be emerging in the United States. Most people will not have immunity to this new virus and, as it continues to spread, more cases, more hospitalisations, and more deaths are expected in the coming days and weeks.


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