Africa: Swine Flu Outbreaks Mobilize International Public Health Effort

source: allAfrica (Washington, DC)
Cheryl Pellerin
27 April 2009

Outbreaks of a new strain of influenza virus that began in north-central Mexico March 22 and have spread to the United States, Canada and Spain so far have prompted the World Health Organization (WHO) to declare the event a public health emergency of international concern.

Mexican authorities have reported up to 1,600 influenza cases and more than 100 influenza deaths. Twenty six of the deaths have been confirmed as caused by the new H1N1 swine flu virus, WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl said in an April 27 briefing.

The number of U.S. cases has risen to 40, and on April 26 the United States declared a public health emergency, which “allows us to free up federal, state and local agencies and their resources for prevention and mitigation,” Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano said. Flu cases in the United States so far have been mild.

“We do not yet have a complete picture of the epidemiology or the risks,” WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan said at an April 25 briefing, including possible spread beyond the [continue reading]

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