WHO warns flu pandemic imminent

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The World Health Organization warned on Wednesday that a global flu pandemic was imminent, raising its threat level as the swine flu virus spread and killed the first person outside of Mexico, a toddler in Texas.

"Influenza pandemics must be taken seriously precisely because of their capacity to spread rapidly to every country in the world," WHO Director General Margaret Chan told a news conference in Geneva.

"The biggest question is this: how severe will the pandemic be, especially now at the start," Chan said, but added the world "is better prepared for an influenza pandemic than at any time in history."

Read it all.

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7 Comments
Posted April 29, 2009 at 6:09 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. Words Matter wrote:

NBC news just noted that 1300 Americans have died from seasonal flu this year, against 1 from swine flu. Is this another media event?

April 29, 6:47 pm | [comment link]
2. Mike L wrote:

pandemic = occurring over a wide geographic area and affecting an exceptionally high proportion of the population.
It may get there, and we should take steps at this stage to prevent it from becoming a problem. But really now can Margaret please step back from the hysteria and at least try to act like someone in charge.

April 29, 7:16 pm | [comment link]
3. libraryjim wrote:

United Nations Organization—World Health Organization.

a.k.a.,
UNO WHO

April 29, 10:26 pm | [comment link]
4. Katie My Rib wrote:

The sky is not falling, but this new strain of influenza is serious.  As we can see in Mexico, it has potential to be deadly, especially in nations that will not have the public health infrastructure present in the first world.  I’m glad the government is trying to get ahead of this.  If it turns out to be less than a pandemic, we can be grateful.  (Although I do wish the 24-hour cable news guys would tone it down by a few hundred decibels!)

April 30, 1:33 am | [comment link]
5. RichardKew wrote:

Might I suggest that you consider joining the .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) network? This came into being as the initiative of a Canadian, Tim Foggins, several years ago when avian flu first became a threat. Having being rather quiet for a while, it is now cranking up and is a place where people are not only sharing good information regarding this epidemic, but also sharing ideas of how churches can respond.

One of the recent very helpful postings from Foggins is as follows:

Hello friends,
I recently had the pleasure of meeting Peter Sandman and his wife Jody Lanard who are two of the foremost risk communication experts around.  I believe they have some important messages and ways of conveying messages.  As many of you are in or will be in positions of needing to communicate risk to your groups, please do read what they have to say.

It is all too easy to over-reassure.  It is also easy to “panic.”  Neither is really productive.  I believe that Peter and Jody strike a healthy balance.  Please visit their website at http://www.psandman.com/.

I have copied an excerpt of their most recent posting below, but would encourage you to read it entirely at http://www.psandman.com/col/swineflu1.htm.  Similarly, if you want more background please read http://www.psandman.com/col/panflu4-1.htm and subsequent pages.

April 30, 3:31 am | [comment link]
6. jkc1945 wrote:

Just a factual note for those of you who reside in urban areas, and may not be entirely familiar with life in rural America.  I am surrounded by hog farmers;  they raise their hogs “in confinement,”  and continually fight swine flu, vaccinating and culling on a daily basis.  And, as a result, most of my neighbors wind up with a good case of it, themselves, from time to time.  Whenever the particular virus they are then fighting mutates, they eventually get a case of it.  What do they do?  The same thing most other farmers keep on doing - - get up in the morning and go to work, sick.  So far, thanks be to God, I have lost no neighbors to the swine flu over the years.  But we see it all the time here in Indiana.

April 30, 7:24 am | [comment link]
7. Branford wrote:

According to the LA Times ( http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-sci-swine-reality30-2009apr30,0,3821888.story?track=rss ), the swine flu may actually be more mild and less dangerous than the regular flu, which kills over 30,000 Americans a year.

April 30, 12:55 pm | [comment link]
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