WHO Declares First 21st Century Flu Pandemic

The World Health Organization declared an influenza pandemic on Thursday and advised governments to prepare for a long-term battle against an unstoppable new flu virus.

The United Nations agency raised its pandemic flu alert to phase 6 on a six-point scale, indicating the first influenza pandemic since 1968 is under way.

“With today’s announcement, WHO moves from an emergency to a longer-term response. Based on past experience, this pandemic will be with us for some months, if not years, to come,” WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan said in a letter to staff, a copy of which was obtained by Reuters.

People aged 30-50, pregnant women or people suffering from chronic conditions such as asthma, diabetes or obesity are at highest risk, Chan told a news conference.

Countries from Australia to Chile and the United States are reporting the new swine flu virus is “crowding out” seasonal flu, becoming the predominant influenza strain, she said.

To read the rest of this article go to http://www.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idUSTRE55A1U720090611?feedType=RSS&feedName=worldNews&rpc=22&sp=true

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