Why the WHO declared a Swine FLU Global pandemic

Swine Flu is back in the media at least, but in physical reality it never went away! To cut a long story short, the reason why the WHO declared Swine FLU as a global pandemic is due to the spreading of the virus in at least 2 regions of the world, with an elevated number of cases occuring in the UK, Australia, Japan and Chile particularly. In Hong Kong they were forced to close all nurseries and primary schools for 2 weeks following 12 school cases. 

The WHO chief Dr. Margaret Chan commented however, that the move does not mean the virus is necessarily causing more severe illness or more deaths. 

Cast your minds back a moment to when the Swine FLU (H1N1) virus first emerged in Mexico in April 09; since then it has spread to 74 countries. There is evidence to suggest we are witnessing before our very eyes the first pandemic of the 21st century. These were the words of the WHO.

To give you perspective, official reports indicate nearly 30,000 cases globally with 141 deaths and figures are rising daily. It is the first FLU pandemic in 40 years; the last in 1968 killed around 1 million people. In balance, the current pandemic seems to be moderate at present, causing only mild illness symptoms in most people. The majority of cases are occurring in young working age adults and a third to a half of complications are presenting in otherwise healthy people. 

Our message is simple, as travellers you need perspective on this illness, which we trust our report provides you with. It is also important at this juncture to, in the words of the WHO strike a balance between complacency and vigilance.

We remind you to heed the advice given in our original article on Swine FLU called "The facts about pandemic flu and how travellers can avoid it" under the Health label.

Grant Holmes

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