BEIJING, Aug. 24 (Xinhuanet) -- The World Health
Organisation (WHO) is urging people around the world to be aware of the second
wave of the influenza A/H1N1 pandemic as the northern autumn approaches,
according to media reports Monday.
WHO Director General Margaret Chan warned that second
and third waves had appeared in previous pandemics.
"We cannot say for certain whether the worst is
over or the worst is yet to come. We need to be prepared for whatever surprises
this capricious new virus delivers next" Chan said in a videotaped address to a
symposium on flu in the Asia-Pacific region.
It is estimated that 250,000 to 500,000 people die
around the world every year from seasonal flu. However, some 1,799 people have
died since the new virus was uncovered in Mexico six months ago, according to
the UN health agency.
The symptoms of the new flu have turned out to be mild in
most of the known cases, but it is proved to be more infectious than seasonal
flu and more durable through the previous warmer months.
Influenza traditionally thrives during the northern
autumn and winter. As the northern hemisphere edges towards the cooler season,
emergency flu plans have been set into motion in many countries. While that
includes many of the wealthiest nations -- with the most medicines, access to
key antiviral drugs and vaccine development, as well as the best health care --
WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl pointed out that the hemisphere also includes
five-sixths of the world's population. The vaccine is not expected to be ready
for use until October and will only be available gradually.
Hartl said it was impossible to rule out the
resurgence of the new virus before October to November, the more usual period
for the growth in seasonal influenza.
"Everyone must be ready," said the WHO spokesman, "It
is already amongst us, as we saw this summer."