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17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
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Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
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WHO May Raise Pandemic Threat Level
27 April 2009 11:44 am
The World Health Organization (WHO) is expected to raise the pandemic threat level of the current swine flu outbreak within an hour.
The Geneva-based organization planned to convene its Emergency Committee, called under the rules of the International Health Regulations, on Tuesday to reevaluate the threat level but bumped it up 1 day.
According to WHO spokesperson Gregory Hartl, the committee is considering raising the pandemic threat level to 4 or 5. A change in the pandemic threat level "is not guaranteed," he said, "but there is a good likelihood something will happen."
Pandemic level 4 indicates that there is sustained human-to-human transmission limited to one geographic area. That means there is a possibility of containing the outbreak with ring vaccination and massive use of antiviral drugs.
Pandemic level 5 means there are various foci of community transmission over several generations. If there is such sustained transmission, versus imported cases from people who traveled to areas where the virus is circulating, several decisions would need to be made, Hartl said, including whether to switch production from the vaccine for seasonal flu to the one for pandemic flu, and whether to ramp up production of antivirals.
Hartl said the disease has now been confirmed in four countries: 40 cases in the U.S., 26 in Mexico, 6 in Canada, and 1 in Spain.