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WHO declares swine flu pandemic: Sweden

AFP/The Local · 11 Jun 2009, 16:06

Published: 11 Jun 2009 16:06 GMT+02:00

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The WHO declaration of a pandemic raises the alert to the maximum level six, the Swedish government said.

Swedish Health Minister Maria Larsson was to hold a press conference later on Thursday following "the WHO's decision to raise the pandemic level to six for the influenza A(H1N1)," the government said in a statement.

The WHO announced earlier on Thursday it would be holding a press conference at its Geneva headquarters at 6pm about influenza A(H1N1), but gave no further details as to what would be announced.

"We can’t interpret it in any other way than that it’s a pandemic," said Anders Tegnell from the infectious disease unit with Sweden’s National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen) to the TT news agency.

When asked why the Swedish government had decided to publicize news about the heightened alert prior to the WHO, Göran Holsmström, an adviser with the Ministry of Health, told The Local that since Sweden's own public health agencies had been notified "we saw no reason to wait".

"From what I understand it’s public information," he said.

"We wanted to get it out to the Swedish media and public as quickly as possible."

A total of 74 countries are now affected by the virus.

The WHO was holding a meeting at its headquarters in Geneva amid growing evidence the virus, which originated in Mexico two months ago, is now being widely transmitted between humans in Asia and Europe as well as the Americas.

Under WHO guidelines, one key criteria for declaring a pandemic would be established community spread in a country outside the first region in which the disease was initially reported.

The Geneva-based UN body last declared a flu pandemic 40 years ago.

On Wednesday, the number of A(H1N1) infections reported to the health agency by the 74 countries had reached 27,737, including 141 deaths.

Story continues below…

The figures were released before authorities in Guatemala reported the country's first swine flu-related death, when a 12-year-old boy stricken by the virus died from kidney failure.

Guatemala is the eighth nation to report a death linked to swine flu. All fatal cases have been in the Americas and the Caribbean.

The vast majority of deaths have been in Mexico where 108 are known to have been killed by the virus. More than 6,133 have been infected there.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

16:44 June 11, 2009 by eZee.se
And in other news:

Muslims around Sweden have been observed running around in circles while chanting: Haram! Haram!
17:20 June 11, 2009 by Deema
Wait a sec eZee.... is it a joke? or the joke lies in your inability to digest information? in any case, hahahhaaa is in order!
18:37 June 11, 2009 by karex
I hope that the authorities start asking some serious questions now, such as how a signature of the bird fluy virus found itself embedded in the genetic makup of the swine flu - unless of course pigs and birds have started to mate and I didn't know about it. And why is it that only one medication seems to be effective to treat the H1N1 - the same one that took millions to develop but has later shown to have some nasty side effects such as causing deaths...

This article may give you some cause at least for thought:

21:10 June 11, 2009 by karex
Sorry everyone, I hadn't realized that you need to register to see the article. The site is clean. I have receive dtheir newsletter for a couple of years not. It's just annoying to register, that's all.
21:31 June 11, 2009 by refugee
@ezee ... ur a minor ...
16:13 June 12, 2009 by Eurostan
We need to bring the world population down to sustainable levels, this might be a godsend! or Nature's way of redress.
18:54 July 14, 2009 by AfroHan
@ karex. Just read the article and found it extremely interesing. Totally confirms my feelings about this whole thing.

oh, and if you guys don't feel like registering (i didn't) you can just stop the page from fully loading by pressing the X on your browser.
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