Monday, May 4, 2009

More On The Flu

Fox News is reporting this morning that the WHO (World Health Organization) is preparing to elevate the flu pandemic at Level 6.

From the WHO website:

What does pandemic alert phase 5 mean?

According to WHO definitions of phases - the virus has caused sustained community level outbreaks in at least two countries in one WHO region. At phase 5 a pandemic is considered imminent.

What is sustained human to human transmission?

This occurs when three generations are involved - i.e. the virus has passed from person A to person B and then to person C.

What is the difference between a probable case and a confirmed case?

A probable case is one that shows the symptoms of influenza such as cough, fever, headache, chills and fatigue and either tests positive for type A influenza or is considered linked to another probable or confirmed case.

A confirmed case is one which tests positive in a laboratory for the influenza A(H1N1) virus.

At what point does WHO consider a pandemic to have started?

Phase 6, as defined by the WHO pandemic preparedness guidelines. However, during both phase 5 and phase 6, national and local actions to respond to the outbreak shift from preparedness to response at a global level. The goal of recommended actions during these phases is to reduce the impact of the pandemic on society.


The US Government has been planning on something akin to what we are seeing now. There was a document published in 2006 outlining the planned military response to such a pandemic.

The document can be downloaded from this link: Here

Bear in mind that this is the public release and may not contain every trick that may be in the bag. What is in there is worrisome enough if you've seen some of the movement of men and material that has been going on.

The world is seeing what may be the initial die down in the current outbreak of the flu. The initial wave hasn't been that bad, and may lull some into complacency. The Financial Times has a story where Margaret Chan, Director General World Health Organization, has been taken to task over the alleged over-reaction to what some are now calling the NAFTA Flu.

Keep in mind that we're at the end of the flu season, and if this little bastard of a bug doesn't morph itself out of existence, we could very well see it re-emerge in September, the beginning of the North American flu season. There is also the possibility that it could pick up some genetic material to make it even more easily transmissible or deadly.

Right now the mortality rate is running just over 3%. The 1918 Flu Pandemic (Spanish Flu) is estimated at having infected around 33% of the population, but the exact mortality rate is unknown due to the lack of accurate numbers. The CDC estimates that 2.5% of those infected died.

What is known is that the first wave of the flu pandemic was not that serious. Similar to what we are seeing now. It was the subsequent waves that netted the highest infection rates and resulted in the largest numbers of deaths.

"See You In September"

1 comment:

HermitJim said...

Bad Bug...great song!