Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Edging closer to Phase 6, an Official Pandemic

The BBC just reported that there has been a confirmed case of human-to-human transmission in Spain. 

Here is the definition of Phase 6:

Phase 6, the pandemic phase, is characterized by community level outbreaks in at least one other country in a different WHO region in addition to the criteria defined in Phase 5. Designation of this phase will indicate that a global pandemic is under way.

"Community level outbreaks" are "sustained disease outbreaks in a community," and that criteria hasn't been met by this case; we'd need to see more than one generation of human-to-human transmission before we could call it a sustained disease outbreak in this community, but hope is swiftly waning that this outbreak will fail to become a pandemic --especially since we haven't been able to contain it in the Northern Hemisphere, where the flu season is coming to an end.

Today also saw the first confirmed death from the H1N1 strain in the US, a toddler from Texas.  My heart goes out to the parents and to the families of all of those who have died in Mexico, already.  I hope that not too many more of us will have to face what they've been through.

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