WHO declares swine flu outbreak "public health emergency"
www.chinaview.cn 2009-04-26 04:55:23   Print

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.

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)
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    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)
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    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 Photo)
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    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 appropriate responses.

    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 

    WASHINGTON, 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: CDC

    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 York school

    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 Saturday.

    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)

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)
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    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 infection

    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 Flu

    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

Editor: Yan
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