Seems like H1N1 strain or Swine flu virus is coming back in the news. The pandemic has moved from stage 5 to stage 6 due to number of cases and their geographical locations (not due to severity). There have been nearly 30,000 infections in 74 countries.
Worst affected countries on June 11th 2009 (from here)
Mexico :: Cumulative Cases – 6241 Deaths – 108
United States of America :: Cumulative Cases – 13217 Deaths – 27
Canada :: Cumulative Cases – 2446 Deaths – 4
Chile :: Cumulative Cases – 1694 Deaths – 2
Costa Rica :: Cumulative Cases – 104 Deaths – 1
Dominican Republic :: Cumulative Cases – 91 Deaths – 1
Colombia :: Cumulative Cases – 35 Deaths – 1
Australia :: Cumulative Cases – 1307 Deaths – 0
United Kingdom :: Cumulative Cases – 822 Deaths – 0
WHO Director-General Margaret Chan’s speech during a press conference at WHO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, 11 Jun 2009
In late April, WHO announced the emergence of a novel influenza A virus.
This particular H1N1 strain has not circulated previously in humans. The virus is entirely new.
The virus is contagious, spreading easily from one person to another, and from one country to another. As of today, nearly 30,000 confirmed cases have been reported in 74 countries.
This is only part of the picture. With few exceptions, countries with large numbers of cases are those with good surveillance and testing procedures in place.
Spread in several countries can no longer be traced to clearly-defined chains of human-to-human transmission. Further spread is considered inevitable.
I have conferred with leading influenza experts, virologists, and public health officials. In line with procedures set out in the International Health Regulations, I have sought guidance and advice from an Emergency Committee established for this purpose.
On the basis of available evidence, and these expert assessments of the evidence, the scientific criteria for an influenza pandemic have been met.
I have therefore decided to raise the level of influenza pandemic alert from phase 5 to phase 6.
The world is now at the start of the 2009 influenza pandemic.
Let us see how many more cases of H1N1 do we see in the future.