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Influenza A (H1N1): pandemic alert phase 6 declared, of moderate severity

From WHO


WHO/Europe outbreak update, 11 June 2009, 16:00 GMT

Today WHO raised the level of influenza A(H1N1) pandemic alert to phase 6, as sustained community-level transmission of the virus is taking place in more than one region of the world. The term pandemic means that an influenza virus that is new to human beings has appeared, is spreading and is causing disease in many parts of the world. Globally, it is of moderate severity.

As of 06:00 Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) on 10 June 2009, 74 countries worldwide had reported over 27 000 cases of influenza A(H1N1), including 141 deaths. A total of 30 of the 53 countries in the WHO European Region had reported 1572 cases of influenza A(H1N1) as of 06:30 GMT on 11 June 2009.

Better prepared

This is the first influenza pandemic in over 40 years: the last was in 1968. Today, the world is better prepared than ever before to address a pandemic. Scientific advances and international cooperation ensure that the health sector can track the progress of the virus, understand its epidemiology, distribute antiviral medicines where they are needed and develop a vaccine.

A moderate pandemic

Based on the information about the virus to date, as well as its impact on countries’ health systems, societies and the economies, WHO considers the overall global severity of the pandemic to be moderate. The situation varies between countries and may change over time. Most of the cases in individuals have been mild, with a limited number of severe cases and deaths. In general, health systems and hospitals have been able to cope with the numbers of people seeking care, but even mild cases and the current level of severe cases could significantly affect health systems and society.

The overwhelming majority of people who catch the virus recover without medical attention. Of concern are the limited number of serious cases and deaths that are occurring primarily among young people, including the previously healthy and those with pre-existing medical conditions or pregnancy.

Advice for the public

  • At present, the vast majority of people who fall ill can be cared for at home and recover without medical treatment.
  • People should be aware of signs of severe illness and not delay seeking medical attention in cases where someone experiences shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, or if a fever continues more than three days.
  • Anyone who becomes ill with a fever above 38 ?C should seek medical attention.
  • Parents with a young child who is ill should get medical care if the child has fast or laboured breathing, continuing fever or convulsions (seizures), or is confused, unconscious or difficult to awaken.
  • People caring for someone who is sick should protect themselves and others with careful hygiene (hand washing, cough etiquette).
  • People should become informed, and stay informed as things change.

WHO recommendations

  • No borders should be closed. Because the virus is already widespread, it cannot be stopped at a border, port or airport. There is no evidence that border closings stop the spread of the disease, and they may seriously disrupt international traffic and trade.
  • Travel should not be restricted. People who are infected with the virus, and are capable of infecting others, may not show symptoms, so they cannot be distinguished from others who are not infected.
  • There should be more emphasis on providing care and less emphasis on stopping the spread of the virus. Countries should focus their resources on caring for people who fall ill.

What WHO is doing

WHO is closely monitoring how the pandemic evolves. We are supporting countries by developing guidelines as we learn more about the virus, supplying medicines and equipment, including antiviral drugs, and working with vaccine manufacturers to ensure a vaccine is developed and available to those in need.


2 Responses to “Influenza A (H1N1): pandemic alert phase 6 declared, of moderate severity”

  1. In Hong KOng,the Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen has announced that all primary and lower-level schools will close for a fortnight.

    The decision for the two-week closure, effective from tomorrow, was made after a cluster of influenza-like cases at St Paul’s Convent School was found to be swine flu infections.

    The number of cases in the St Paul cluster was also raised to 12 from nine previously.

    Authorities were unable to identify the source of the infection, making it the first cluster of human swine flu cases in the city without a known link to those travelling overseas, prompting the closures.

    Primary schools, kindergartens and nurseries will be closed until the start of the next school year if they are unable to resume school before the end of the current school year on July 10.

    The Education Bureau has reached an understanding with principals that special arrangements will be made for Primary Five examinations, a key factor in getting into a good secondary school, if schools have to stay closed until the start of the new school year.

    The schools will be closed until June 25 and the bureau will confirm their reopening or announce changes in plans on June 23.


  2. Thanks for the information.

    By 迷你倉

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