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May 19, 2009

On the same page with WHO

This post comes third in a series focusing on the influenza outbreak. Earlier posts are available here and here.

The most crucial point in these texts was that the WHO pandemic scale only takes virus spread into account, and does not include any considerations on its virulence. This was a concern, because of the subsequent media coverage and the long-term risk of complacency.

It is, therefore, quite reassuring to see this fact being increasingly picked up in news reports.
French newspaper Le Monde even quotes a WHO spokesperson stating: "It is true WHO only considers virus spread to decide on its alert level. There is no alternative, as virulence is a subjective criterion, which varies between countries." (this is my own translation; the whole article is available here)

This change arrives quite late, but still in time for level 6.
This level, the highest on the WHO pandemic alert scale, will probably be announced this week.

As explained earlier, the only difference between levels 5 and 6 is the detection of a new epidemic outbreak on a different continent.
The infection started in North America, and quickly spread there, leading to level 5. Since then, countries such as Spain have been under close scrutiny, but it now turns out that Japan might be the country officially leading us into a global pandemic.

You can expect a return of influenza to the main headlines, but let's hope that, this time, media coverage will not neglect any useful information.


koz said...

Me permets-tu décrire en français ?

Merci pour cette info utile. J'espère comme toi que les medias sauront se montrer complets dans leur information.

[He saus : I agree]

Dimitri Perrin said...

Merci du commentaire !

Et aucun souci pour la langue choisie.
D'ailleurs, l'équivalent francophone de ce post se trouve juste en dessous : http://science-take-away.blogspot.com/2009/05/loms-est-sur-la-meme-ligne.html

(J'essaye de rester aussi bilingue que possible sur ce blog. Ca prend du temps, mais ça vaut le coup, je pense)

Les heures/jours à venir vont être un révélateur : on peut s'attendre au niveau 6 pour bientôt, et donc un retour de la grippe en Une.