We were at 4, "Evidence of increased human-to-human transmission" - and now it's 5,
"Evidence of significant human-to-human transmission". (More about this in the Lemming's "Swine Flu 2009.)
Spiffy. I'm rather glad I don't have any plans for a world cruise just now.
The WHO Director-General Margaret Chan, had some common-sense advice: " 'Influenza pandemics must be taken seriously precisely because of their capacity to spread rapidly to every country in the world,'.... 'New diseases by definition are poorly understood and influenza viruses are notorious for their rapid mutation and unpredictable behavior.'
" 'The good news is that we are better prepared for an influenza pandemic than anytime in our history,' she said, adding, 'it really is all of humanity that is under threat in a pandemic.' "
We are better prepared than we were: each flu pandemic since the big one in 1918 encouraged people to develop new procedures and technologies for slowing down the spread of the disease, and treating people who got it.
That picture is the display from a thermal scanner, showing heat signatures of passengers arriving an Incheon airport, near Seol, South Korea. I think it's a great way to quickly tell who's running a fever - and probably shouldn't be allowed to enter the country. I'm pretty sure that it's someone's notion of an invasion of privacy: but that's a different topic.
In the news:
- "WHO raises pandemic flu alert level to phase 5"
The Associated Press (April 29, 2009)
- "Swine Flu Outbreak One Step Closer to Full Pandemic"
FOX News (April 29, 2009)
- "Mexico visitors head for home as flu fears spread"
Reuters (April 29, 2009)
- "WHO raises swine flu alert level to five"
heraldsun.com.au (April 29, 2009)