Thursday, January 21, 2010

WHO 2009 H1N1 Influenza Situation Update

Dr Keiji Fukuda, Special Adviser to the WHO Director-General on Pandemic Influenza delivered a virtual press conference on January 14, 2010. Dr. Fukuda expressed that the most intense pandemic activity continues to be concentrated in North Africa, Southern Asia and in parts of Eastern and Southeast Europe. Though activity has been declining in other parts of the world, it has not returned to baseline, hence, it is too early to say that the pandemic is over. It is important to also note that over the remainder of the winter and the upcoming spring, it is very likely that we may see a significant recurring wave of transmission. With the situation as it is, the agency considers the pandemic to still be ongoing.

Dr. Fukuda also took the time to dispel rumors that the pandemic was not real, that WHO had changed its definition of the H1N1 as a pandemic, or that the agency over exaggerated the severity of the pandemic. Dr. Fukuda reminded viewers that in the initial briefing given by director-general, Dr. Margaret Chan, she expressed that there was reason to believe that the pandemic would be of "moderate severity", and the agency simply took all the necessary precautions to keep transmission as low as possible. It is impossible to know the exact course that a pandemic will take, and recommendations change as new information about the pandemic is uncovered.

The entire transcript from the briefing is available from the website below.

Source: WHO

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