World Health Organization Has Stopped Reporting Global 'LAB CREATED' Swine Flu Victim Totals

Submitted by SadInAmerica on Sat, 07/18/2009 - 11:46am.

Swine flu is moving around the globe at "unprecedented speed," the (W.H.O.) World Health Organization said Friday, as it stopped giving figures on the numbers affected worldwide.

The WHO said in an information note on its website Friday that it would focus on regular updates from newly affected countries, in order to keep track of the global progress of the new influenza A(H1N1) pandemic.

The influenza pandemic had "spread internationally with unprecedented speed," according to the Geneva-based UN public health agency.

"In past pandemics, influenza viruses have needed more than six months to spread as widely as the new H1N1 virus has spread in less than six weeks."

"The virus passes from human to human very efficiently, even without symptoms" for a carrier, added WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl.

More widespread air travel and international business and tourism since the last flu pandemic some 40 years ago was also a factor, he said. The WHO has avoided recommending travel restrictions since A(H1N1) first appeared in April.

The agency said the counting of all individual cases was no longer essential to assess the risk from swine flu, so it was best to watch the virus's appearance in new territories.

"WHO will continue to request that these countries report the first confirmed cases and, as far as feasible, provide weekly aggregated case numbers and descriptive epidemiology of the early cases," it added.

While it eased its overall reporting requirement, the WHO called on all countries to "closely monitor unusual events," such as possible clusters of severe or fatal infections, or unusual patterns that might be associated with worsening disease.

The policy shift was partly motivated by the "mildness of symptoms in the overwhelming majority of patients, who usually recover, even without medical treatment, within a week of the onset of symptoms."

"Moreover, the counting of individual cases is now no longer essential in such countries for monitoring either the level or nature of the risk posed by the pandemic virus" or to guide the best response, the UN health agency added.

In some countries, the investigation and laboratory testing of all cases had absorbed huge resources, leaving health systems with little capacity to monitor severe cases or exceptional events that might mark an increase in the virulence of swine flu.

"For all of these reasons, WHO will no longer issue the global tables showing the numbers of confirmed cases for all countries."

The global tally given by the WHO three times a week until recently was based on laboratory confirmed cases from each country.

In the last table on July 6, the health agency had recorded 94,512 cases in 136 countries and territories since April, including 429 deaths.

However, several countries had already stopped lab testing of cases, while the health officials in the United States and Britain have underlined that many more people had probably been infected than the confirmed caseload.

The United States has the highest death toll from swine flu of any country in the world, with 211 dead and more than 37,000 confirmed cases, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

However, the CDC estimated last month that one million Americans could have been affected by swine flu since it first appeared.

Some 250,000 to 500,000 people around the world die of regular seasonal flu every year, according to the WHO.

July 17, 2009 - source AFP

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Submitted by SadInAmerica on Sat, 07/18/2009 - 11:46am.