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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
An animal rights group known as the Nonhuman Rights Project filed lawsuits in three New York courts this week in an...
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
Thousands of scientists in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) are about to lose their jobs as a result of the...
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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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.