Backgrounder: Key facts about swine flu
GENEVA, April 25 (Xinhua) -- The World Health
Organization (WHO)on Saturday declared the swine flu outbreak in Mexico and the
United States a "public health emergency of international concern" and urged
countries to be alert.
A woman wears a mask to prevent from
being infected by the swine flu virus in the Mexico City, capital of
Mexico, April 25, 2009. The World Health Organization (WHO) on Saturday
declared the swine flu outbreak in Mexico and the United States a "public
health emergency of international concern" and urged countries to be
alert. (Xinhua Photo)
Based on the advice of a WHO emergency committee,
Director-general Margaret Chan "has determined that the current events
constitute a public health emergency of international concern," the UN agency
said in a statement.
The WHO chief is recommending, on the advice of the
committee, that all countries intensify surveillance for unusual outbreaks
ofinfluenza-like illness and severe pneumonia, the statement added.
Mexican Federal Policemen wear masks in
Mexico City April 25, 2009. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)
However, more information is needed before a decision
could be made concerning the appropriateness of the current "phase 3" alert
level of a pandemic risk, according to the advice of the committee, which is
composed of international experts in a variety of disciplines.
The WHO's pandemic alert includes altogether six
phases. "Phase3" means "no or very limited human-to-human transmission."
A woman wearing a mask walks past a
poster calling on residents to prevent from being infected by the swine
flu virus in the Mexico City, capital of Mexico, April 25, 2009. (Xinhua
The emergency committee was established in compliance
with the International Health Regulations (2005). It convened its first meeting
on Saturday to assess the swine flu situation and advise the WHO chief on
After reviewing available data on the current
situation, committee members identified a number of gaps in knowledge about the
clinical features, epidemiology, and virology of reported cases and the
appropriate responses, the WHO statement said.
The committee also noted that answers to several
specific questions were needed to facilitate its work.
2 swine flu cases confirmed in U.S.
state of Kansas
April 25 (Xinhua) -- The Kansas Department of Health and Environment on Saturday
confirmed two cases of swine flu in the state.
A spokeswoman said the department is planning to release
details on the two cases at a news conference later Saturday. Full story
U.S. expects more swine flue cases:
WASHINGTON, April 25 (Xinhua)
-- The United States is expected to embrace more cases of swine flu because the
virus can not be contained, an official from the U.S. Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention (CDC) said on Saturday.
"With infections in many different communities as we're
seeing, we don't think that containment is feasible," said Anne Schucha, interim
deputy director for the CDC's science and public health program. Full story
Probable swine flu cases found in New
NEW YORK, April 25
(Xinhua) -- At least eight students of a non-public school in New York City were
found to have probable human swine influenza, New York health officials said on
More than 100 students at the school in the New York City
borough of Queens were sick this week with fever and other flu-like symptoms,
the New York City Health Department said in a press release. Full story
Texas high school closing after
possible new case of swine flu found
HOUSTON, April 25 (Xinhua) -- A high school in the
U.S. state of Texas is temporarily closing after a new possible case of the
deadly swine flu was identified there, health officials said Saturday.
Byron Steele High School in Guadalupe County near San
Antonio, Texas, will "temporarily close effective immediately as public health
and school officials work to keep swine influenza from spreading", the Texas
Department of State Health Services (DSHS) said in a press release. Full story
Mexican president holds emergency
meeting on flu outbreak
A man wearing a mask walks past a
Mexican flag in Mexico City, capital of Mexico, April 24, 2009. The
government of Mexico City is launching a massive vaccination campaign
throughout the city against swine flu, which has possibly killed dozens
nationwide. (Xinhua Photo)
MEXICO CITY, April 24 (Xinhua) -- Mexican President Felipe
Calderon on Friday held an emergency meeting at the Presidential Office with
ministers, health authorities and experts to discuss measures to deal with the
deadly flu outbreak.
Calderon also decided to inform Mexicans about the
nationwide flu outbreak. Full story
China on alert to prevent swine flu
BEIJING, April 25 (Xinhua) -- China's General
Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine issued an
emergency notice Saturday night requiring people to report flu-like symptoms at
the point of entry when coming from the deadly swine flu affected places.
This is China's latest move in response to the
outbreaks of human infection of Swine Influenza A/H1N1 in Mexico and the United
States. Full story
Hong Kong to enhance surveillance at
boundary control points for Swine
HONG KONG, April 25 (Xinhua)
-- Hong Kong will step up local surveillance systems at boundary control points
and the public health laboratory in light of outbreaks of human infection of
Swine Influenza A/H1N1 in Mexico and the United States, the Center for Health
Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health of Hong Kong announced on Saturday.
Travelers from the affected places who are found to have
Swine Influenza symptoms at Hong Kong's boundary control points will be taken to
hospitals for further investigation. Laboratory testing for Swine Influenza will
be conducted for patients with influenza-like-illness who had traveled to the
affected places within 7 days before onset of symptoms.Full story
Japan tightens measures against swine
flu threat after outbreak in Mexico
TOKYO, April 26 (Xinhua) -- Japan has tightened
preventive measures against the threat of swine flu as the deadly outbreaks in
Mexico claimed more than 60 human lives.
At a meeting of ministry and agency section chiefs
Saturday, the government decided to strengthen measures to prevent the virulent
strain of swine flu from spreading to Japan and issued an advisory for travelers
to Mexico and the United States, where eight people were infected with the
disease, that urges precautions such as wearing masks and washing hands, and
called on all people returning from either country to report unusual
symptoms. Full story
S Korea to tighten quarantine measures
for U.S., Mexican pork
SEOUL, April 26 (Xinhua) -- The South Korean
government announced to tighten quarantine measures for pork from the United
States and Mexico after outbreaks of swine influenza in these countries, local
media reported on Sunday.
South Korea's National Veterinary Research and
Quarantine Service announced Saturday that U.S. and Mexican pork to be imported
from Monday will be put in quarantine to check if it was infected with the
disease. Full story
WHO chief says swine flu outbreak in
Mexico has "pandemic potential"
GENEVA, April 25 (Xinhua) -- Mexico's swine flu
outbreak has the potential to turn into a worldwide pandemic, the head of the
World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Saturday.
"It has pandemic potential because it is infecting
people," WHO Director-General Margaret Chan said at a teleconference. But she
also said it was too early to say whether the flu will turn into such a pandemic
or not. Full story