WHO Declares 'Swine Flu' Officially A Pandemic

Remember, "pandemic" only means "global." It doesn't mean deadly. However, please keep in mind that it's the second wave of this virus (expected this

Remember, "pandemic" only means "global." It doesn't mean deadly. However, please keep in mind that it's the second wave of this virus (expected this fall) that we're worried about. That's after the virus has had a chance to mutate into something stronger:

GENEVA - The long-awaited pandemic announcement is scientific confirmation that a new flu virus has emerged and is quickly circling the globe. WHO will now ask drugmakers to speed up production of a swine flu vaccine. The declaration will also prompt governments to devote more money toward efforts to contain the virus.

WHO chief Dr. Margaret Chan made the announcement Thursday after the U.N. agency held an emergency meeting with flu experts. Chan said she was moving the world to phase 6 — the agency's highest alert level — which means a pandemic, or global epidemic, is under way.

"The world is moving into the early days of its first influenza pandemic in the 21st century," Chan told reporters. "The (swine flu) virus is now unstoppable."

The long-awaited pandemic decision is scientific confirmation that a new flu virus has emerged and is quickly circling the globe. It will trigger drugmakers to speed up production of a swine flu vaccine and prompt governments to devote more money toward efforts to contain the virus.

On Wednesday, WHO said 74 countries had reported nearly 27,737 cases of swine flu, including 141 deaths. The agency has stressed that most cases require no treatment in well-off countries, but the fear is that a rash of new infections could overwhelm hospitals and health authorities — especially in less developed nations.


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