Tuesday, June 2, 2009

WHO getting closer to Phase 6

The WHO Briefing today provided some important updates summarized here. The audio should be up soon at www.who.int/mediacentre/multimedia/swineflupressbriefings/en/index.html

1. We are now "closer" to Phase 6, with UK, Spain, Japan, & Australia in transition to widespread community transmission.

2. WHO is characterizing current outbreak as “moderate” not mild, with most severe illness in the 20 – 40 yr age group. It appears that the number of serious illnesses is limited, but we don’t really know the numerator or denominator. Also, those who die are both what we might expect to see in influenza deaths (underlying illnesses, pregnant) but also those who are otherwise healthy and we don't know why.

3. *It sounds like the Phase 6 definition, based on geography of spread, will be more or less retained but may modify the "movement" to phase six with degree of severity. WHO should then provide guidance to countries based on level of severity. WHO is working on guidance for assessments of severity. They have not decided what indicators will be used for severity.

4. Novel-H1N1 (rather than seasonal flu strains) seems to be predominating so far at the start of the southern hemisphere season in Chile.

Many thanks to our colleagues at the H2P Initiative (http://www.pandemicpreparedness.org/) who are keeping us updated on briefings and articles.

1 comment:

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