Swine flu will continue to spread19th May 2009
Experts at the World Health Organisation (WHO) predict that swine flu will continue its spread around the world.
The news came after cases of the virus spiked by more than 1,000 within a 24-hour period.
Acting WHO Assistant Director-General Keiji Fukuda said that a large number of infection cases were not confirmed by laboratory testing.
He said that their work also suggested the virus was transmissible enough for continued community level outbreaks and regional spread.
According to the latest data, 7,520 people in 34 countries have been confirmed to have caught influenza A(H1N1).
The number of confirmed deaths is highest in Mexico, followed by the United States, Canada, and Costa Rica.
WHO Director-General Margaret Chan said that the virus has quickly demonstrated its capacity to spread easily from one person to another, to spread widely within an affected country and to spread rapidly to additional countries.
She said she expected this pattern of international spread to continue, since this is a time of great uncertainty, and great pressure on governments, ministries of health and the WHO.
World governments have not stopped giving updates about the progress of the virus in their respective countries.
The Mexican health minister, Jose Angel Cordova, said two more deaths have been confirmed in the country and the total number of fatalities there was now at 66, with 2,829 confirmed infections overall.
However, he said that the rate of infections was still steadily falling.
In the United States, the rate of infection is still rising, with the number of confirmed cases at 4,298.
Three schools were recently closed in New York City, and 4,500 students sent home, following the hospitilisation of an assistant principal.
The New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg said that there was an unusually high level of flu-like illnesses in the city.
Fukuda said that the behaviour of swine flu would also depend on whether it was winter in one part of the world or another.
He said that half of those who have died from swine flu have been young and otherwise healthy adults, though right now it is not known what the future will bring.
Pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline has said that it would begin to develop 130 million doses of a swine flu vaccine for use in France, Belgium, Britain, and Finland.
US president Barack Obama has appointed New York City health chief Thomas Frieden as the new director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Frieden is an epidemiologist who left the CDC in 2002 when he was appointed New York health commissioner.
The confirmed infected total has risen to four in Belgium, and two in Norway: both students recently returned from Mexico.
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Title: Swine flu will continue to spread
Author: Luisetta Mudie
Article Id: 11387
Date Added: 19th May 2009