According to the World Health Organization the number of confirmed cases of the H1N1 virus, aka swine flu, is now at 331 people. This is a jump from confirmed cases of swine flu worldwide yesterday which stood at 257 . The flu has spread to 11 countries, but the hardest hit areas were in the western hemisphere, according to WHO
U.S. Human Cases of H1N1 Flu Infection
(As of May 1, 2009, 11:00 AM ET)
# of laboratory confirmed cases
New Jersey 5
New York 50
TOTAL COUNTS 141 cases 1 death
New York 50
New York has the most confirmed cases, with 50, followed by Texas, with 26. California has 14 cases.
The virus is a contagious respiratory disease that affects pigs and can jump to humans. Symptoms include fever, runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
The current H1N1 virus is a hybrid of swine, avian and human strains, and no vaccine has been developed for it. Scientists are racing to prepare the key ingredient to make a vaccine against the never-before-seen flu strain and it could take several months before it can be tested .
We keep hearing about the WHO phases of the virus.
In the 2009 revision of the phase descriptions, WHO has retained the use of a six-phased approach for easy incorporation of new recommendations and approaches into existing national preparedness and response plans. The grouping and description of pandemic phases have been revised to make them easier to understand, more precise, and based upon observable phenomena. Phases 1–3 correlate with preparedness, including capacity development and response planning activities, while Phases 4–6 clearly signal the need for response and mitigation efforts. Furthermore, periods after the first pandemic wave are elaborated to facilitate post pandemic recovery activities.
Phase 5 is characterized by human-to-human spread of the virus into at least two countries in one WHO region. While most countries will not be affected at this stage, the declaration of Phase 5 is a strong signal that a pandemic is imminent and that the time to finalize the organization, communication, and implementation of the planned mitigation measures is short.The level 5 designation means widespread human infection from the outbreak that originated in Mexico has been jumping from person to person with relative ease.
Phase 6, the pandemic phase, is characterized by community level outbreaks in at least one other country in a different WHO region in addition to the criteria defined in Phase 5. Designation of this phase will indicate that a global pandemic is under way.
In addition to Mexico and the United States, WHO said, the following countries have confirmed non-lethal cases: Austria (1), Canada (34), Germany (3), Israel (2), Netherlands (1), New Zealand (3), Spain (13), Switzerland (1) and the United Kingdom (8). An additional 230 cases are being investigated in the United Kingdom, and Spain has 84 suspected cases. Australia, which has had no confirmed cases, was investigating 114.