Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

Chaos and confusion after Brexit, Istanbul Airport attack (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

Bitter Divorce: Chaos and confusion after Brexit (part 1)

Read more

DOWN TO EARTH

Extinction crisis: Saving the planet's species from an irreversible fate

Read more

#THE 51%

Unlocking the code: Women refugees offered classes in coding

Read more

#TECH 24

Viva Technology!

Read more

ENCORE!

Marcia Gay Harden, a down-to-earth Hollywood star

Read more

YOU ARE HERE

France’s Camargue region and its herdsmen

Read more

FOCUS

The steady rise of women in Taiwanese politics

Read more

FASHION

For summer 2017 menswear, designers interrogate the complexity of modern life

Read more

Americas

WHO warns of flu outbreak's 'pandemic potential'

Video by Claire PRYDE , FRANCE 2

Latest update : 2009-04-25

The head of the World Health Organisation says a new flu strain that has killed up to 68 people in Mexico and infected eight in the United States has the potential to cause a worldwide pandemic, though it is too early to determine whether it will.

Reuters - Outbreaks of swine flu in Mexico and the United States have the potential to cause a worldwide pandemic but it is too early to say whether they will, the head of the World Health Organisation said on Saturday.
 

"It has pandemic potential because it is infecting people," WHO Director-General Margaret Chan said.
 
"However, we cannot say on the basis of currently available laboratory, epidemiological, and clinical evidence whether or not it will indeed cause a pandemic."
 
The new flu strain -- a mixture of swine, human and avian flu viruses which has killed up to 68 people among 1,004 suspected cases in Mexico and infected eight in the United States -- is still poorly understood and the situation is evolving quickly, Chan said on a teleconference.
 
An emergency committee of experts, convening shortly, will advise her about issues including possibly changing the WHO's pandemic alert level, currently 3 on a scale of 1 to 6.
 
It was "too premature at this stage" for the WHO to announce any travel advisories, as better analysis of the cases and other clinical data was required, she said.
 
"We do not yet have a complete picture of the epidemiology or the risk, including possible spread beyond the currently affected areas," Chan said. "Nonetheless, in the assessment of WHO, this is a serious situation."
 
It was also too soon for the U.N. agency to advise drugmakers to switch to producing a new vaccine -- to be derived from the new virus -- from their traditional production of seasonal influenza vaccines, she said.

Date created : 2009-04-25

COMMENT(S)