Swine Flu/H1N1: Still a Pandemic, But Why?
Hey, remember swine flu? The H1N1 virus causing it is still around, but flu activity has declined sharply. Yet the World Health Organization is still calling swine flu a pandemic. Why?
The Los Angeles Times' Thomas H. Maugh II writes:
Because of sharp declines in swine flu activity around the world, many observers had expected the 15-member committee of experts, whose members are anonymous, to declare that the pandemic was in its "post-peak" phase, or even in its "post-pandemic" phase, which would mean that the pandemic was over.
But a statement from WHO Director-General Margaret Chan noted that, while "the period of most intense pandemic appears likely to have passed for many parts of the world," activity is continuing in some areas and many people remain vulnerable. The virus is most active in parts of Southeast Asia and the Caribbean, but experts fear a further outbreak.
Key scientists behind World Health Organization advice on stockpiling of pandemic flu drugs had financial ties with companies which stood to profit, an investigation has found.
The British Medical Journal says the scientists had openly declared these interests in other publications yet WHO made no mention of the links.
It comes as a report from the Council of Europe criticised the lack of transparency around the handling of the swine flu pandemic.
A spokesman for WHO said the drug industry did not influence its decisions on swine flu.
What's happening with swine flu/H1N1 in your community? What are local health officials doing to prepare for the upcoming flu season?
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