After holding an emergency meeting, the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared a global swine flu pandemic, and raised the Pandemic watch out level to Six, according to reports by BBC.
This declaration means that while swine flu virus is still not causing more severe illness or more deaths, it is rapidly spreading in at least two regions of the world with rising cases being seen in the UK, Australia, Japan and Chile. Actually the current pandemic seems to be moderate and causing mild illness in most people.
WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl said it had been expecting something more like the deadlier bird flu.
“It was believed that the next pandemic would be something like H5N1 bird flu, where you were seeing really high death rates, and so there were people who believed we might be in a kind of apocalyptic situation and what we’re really seeing now with H1N1 is that in most cases the disease is self-limiting,” he told the BBC.
The WHO will have to manage the global anxiety the declaration of a pandemic will generate, BBC correspondent says.
Meanwhile, in Egypt, the Ministry of Health announced a new confirmed swine flu case, raising the overall recorded number of infections in Egypt to 11 cases.
The latest case was that of the Colombian wife of the petroleum engineer who was found infected yesterday. This was confirmed by the Ministry official spokesman Abdel Rahman Shahin, and the she is being treated at “Al Homyat” hospital in Abbasiyah. Shaheen added that screening of all contacts of the afflicted couple – about 20 people – came back negative for H1N1 infections.
Yet the Public Panic continues to rise, today a rumor circulated about the surfacing of a Swine flu case in a fast food outlet in Maadi, which caused the district’s residents to panic and start messaging to boycott the rumored food chain. Reports that a high demand for medical masks is rising were found true, and a lot of pharmacies reported that their stocks of masks have ran out.
The governmental handling of the outbreak is still not up to the public expectations, despite the constant confirmation of the Ministry of Health, that the situation is still under control.