The WHO has elevated the pandemic threat level to the United States. In doing so, the World Health Organization has moved the pandemic threat alert up to a level five, meaning that it is just short of a widespread pandemic. The pandemic threat alerts are measured on a six point scale, with a six denoting a widespread human infection. With the recent informational release that the swine flu is still spreading, it appears that the WHO wanted to prepare for the worst, and in doing so, as upgraded the threat warning.
The fact that the WHO decided to raise the threat level is a bit disconcerting, and it shows that there could be a real reason to fear the spread of the swine flu. The decision, according to the WHO web-site, was based on an assessment of all the available information that they have, coupled with the recommendations of several expert consultants. The thought process is that it will help to initiate the activation of pandemic preparedness plans across the country, and get everyone ready just in case the worst case scenario rears its head in the near future. This will of course include a heighten view on where the infections are taking place, and a raised level of importance being placed on quarantines.
This move by the WHO comes on the heels of the first United States death from the swine flu. A young boy succumbed to the sickness, but news agencies are quick to point out that he was a Mexican citizen who came up for treatment. The risk is still there though, as according to CNN this morning, 132 cases had been confirmed in 11 countries, with the majority being in the United States. 10 states now have reported illnesses, and they aren’t just in states that border Mexico, but in places like Ohio and New York as well. This is showing that the disease has the ability to spread quickly, and that the WHO feels it is necessary to take it as a very serious condition.
The news of a possible pandemic just keeps getting worse and worse, and while there are many in the press who claim that this is just a number of scare tactics to take advantage of the public, it is still a worrisome development, because it means that the WHO isn’t looking to win any battles in the public forum, but rather intends to try and protect people. The coming days and weeks will tell more about the swine flu and just how bad it could get, but for now the WHO is urging a lot of caution with the disease, and looking to cut it off at the knees before it can spread further.
Source: WHO Web-Site