News spotlight: Pandemic risk increases as swine flu cases emerge

Nurse Leader Insider, May 4, 2009

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Numerous cases of the new strain of the swine flu surfaced last week in several corners of the U.S. and around the globe.

The cases—springing up in states such as California, Texas, New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts—influenced the World Health Organization’s (WHO) decision to up its global alert level from Phase 3 to Phase 4 on April 27. Then just two days later, WHO increased its global alert to Phase 5, recognizing that the A/H1N1 virus spread between people in at least two countries in one “WHO region.” The phase change also warns a pandemic is forthcoming, which is signified by Phase 6, according to the WHO’s Web site.

The Associated Press reports health officials identified five cases of the swine flu in people in New Jersey who recently traveled to Mexico and California. Further testing found a group of students to be infected at the St. Francis Preparatory School in Queens, NY—some of whom had recently traveled to Mexico for spring break. The testing suggests some of these students contracted the flu from infected students at the school.

Cases of the swine flu also recently emerged in European and Asian countries.
The U.S. declared a travel advisory for Mexico, deterring Americans from nonessential travel. Mexico’s death toll from the disease has mounted to 156 people and evidence suggests the disease has spread to 10 Mexican states. Despite the swine flu cases arising in the U.S., there has only been one confirmed death due to the virus.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

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