H1N1 virus at global pandemic phase 6

As the BBC reports, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has upgraded the swine flu (H1N1) virus alert status to global flu pandemic phase 6 – full statement here. But, as the WHO official figures show, the fatality rate remains low. BBC medical corrrespondent Fergus Walsh gives his thoughts.

People will want to know when they are likely to be exposed to H1N1. That’s impossible to say with any accuracy, but the summer months may suppress the virus somewhat in Britain, and it may be the late autumn or beyond before we see a full-scale epidemic in every community.

The government’s pandemic plans suggest that perhaps a third of the population could get infected, causing huge rates of absenteeism from work, and extra pressure on the health service. There is concern that the virus might mutate in the southern hemisphere over its winter and become more virulent, but there’s no sign of that yet.

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  • Dave Hartin

    Nasty ‘flu virus but nothing to get too excited about just yet – be interesting to see what happens in the Southern Hemisphere over their winter to predict what will happen with us, even ignoring the possibility of mutation. Over 60’s appear to be OK with this, bizarrely enough, it’s the youngsters that end up in hospital.

    Plenty of fluid and chicken soup.

  • joker

    I think the first thing we need to do is stop calling it swine Flu it should be North American flu.