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Swine Flu Pandemic Declared by World Health Organization

June 12th, 2009

Yesterday the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the first pandemic to hit in over forty years. The H1N1 virus, also known as the Swine Flu, has how reached a Phase 6, the highest level, on the WHO’s infectious diseases alert.

So far, the H1N1 or swine flu pandemic this year has accounted for 27,737 laboratory-confirmed cases and 141 deaths, although health officials believe many times that number have been infected but have not been tested because their disease was mild. In the US alone, there have been more than 13,000 cases and at least 27 deaths. A normal seasonal flu outbreak kills about 250,000 to 500,000 people worldwide.

The WHO and its supporters are now hoping that pharmaceutical companies will move faster toward the release of a vaccine against the new virus. The announcement will also have more impact on many impoverished countries, freeing up additional funds for treatment and prevention and helping to make stocks of antiviral drugs more readily available.

To find out more, read the official statement from the WHO.

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