News

    WHO: Premature to Call Swine Flu Pandemic Over

    A senior WHO official says the virus is expected to continue circulating for some time to come and countries should continue to take steps to protect their populations.

    The World Health Organization says it is too soon to call the H1N1, Swine Flu pandemic over.  A senior WHO official says the virus is expected to continue circulating for some time to come and countries should continue to take steps to protect their populations. 

    The H1N1 influenza pandemic has been around for about eight months, but in some places the spread of the virus is not as widespread as some had feared.  The World Health Organization says this is not long enough to be able to consider the pandemic over.

    WHO notes the pandemic is a global event, not a regional one.  Since the virus is spreading around the world, it says it is normal for the illness to be more severe in some places than in others.

    For example, WHO finds infections are continuing at quite high levels in some parts of Europe, such as France and Switzerland, in parts of Central Asia and in some large countries, such as Russia.

    But, Special Adviser to the WHO Director-General on Pandemic Influenza, Keiji Fukuda, says the pandemic seems to have peaked and is on the way down in some parts of the world, including North America and some European countries.

    "But, one of the points about this is that peaking has occurred extraordinarily early for influenza and we still have several months of winter to go," said Fukuda. "One of the big questions, which is still before us is whether we expect to see yet another wave of activity occur, perhaps in the late winter or in the early spring months.  And the answer right now is that we simply are not able to answer this question right now." 

    Fukuda says WHO is continuing to monitor the situation, but is unable to predict whether or not there will be an upsurge of activity in early 2010.

    Because of the uncertainties, he says WHO believes it is vital to provide support to vulnerable countries.  And, the best way to help them, he says, is by providing them with vaccines against the disease.

    As of now, he says six manufacturers and 12 countries have pledged about 180 million doses of the vaccine to WHO.  They will be distributed to approximately 95 countries.

    He says WHO had hoped to ship off the first lot of vaccines by November or December.  But, this has not been possible because the operation is extremely complicated. 

    "I am still hoping to get the vaccines out soon.  The first doses have not gone out yet.  But, we are, I think very close to that," he said. 

    Fukuda adds it is not too late to get the vaccines out to the countries.

    "The pandemic virus is now a virus, which is really spread around the world.  And, it is quite likely this is an infection we will continue to see circulating for a number of years.  We also, as I mentioned, do not know what we are going to see in the springtime.  So, for these reasons and for the high likelihood that many people are going to run into this virus in the future, I think that it remains quite prudent  to push ahead with the vaccinations," he said. 

    Fukuda adds that Azerbaijan, Afghanistan and Mongolia will be the first three countries to receive the vaccines.  He says they will be followed by a group of 35 countries.  After that, the vaccines will be distributed to the remaining vulnerable countries on WHO's list.

     

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.