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.
    Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growthi
    X
    February 10, 2016 5:54 AM
    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Civil Rights Pioneer Remembers Struggle for Voting Rights

    February is Black History Month in the United States. The annual, month-long national observance pays tribute to important people and events that shaped the history of African Americans. VOA's Chris Simkins reports how one man fought against discrimination to help millions of blacks obtain the right to vote
    Video

    Video Jordanian Theater Group Stages Anti-Terrorism Message

    The lure of the self-styled “Islamic State” has many parents worried about their children who may be susceptible to the organization’s online propaganda. Dozens of Muslim communities in the Middle East are fighting back -- giving young adults alternatives to violence. One group in Jordan is using dramatic expression a send a family message. Mideast Broadcasting Network correspondent Haider Al Abdali shared this report with VOA. It’s narrated by Bronwyn Benito
    Video

    Video Migrant Crisis Fuels Debate Over Britain’s Future in EU

    The migrant crisis in Europe is fueling the debate in Britain ahead of a referendum on staying in the European Union that may be held this year. Prime Minister David Cameron warns that leaving the EU could lead to thousands more migrants arriving in the country. Meanwhile, tension is rising in Calais, France, where thousands of migrants are living in squalid camps. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Families Flee Aleppo for Kurdish Regions in Syria

    Not all who flee the fighting in Aleppo are trying to cross the border into Turkey. A VOA reporter caught up with several families heading for Kurdish-held areas of northern Syria.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    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.