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Is It a Pandemic?

The World Health Organization appears to be toying with the notion of raising the alert level on the Swine Flu Outbreak to 6 -- at which point it will formally be known as a pandemic. Agence France Press reports that U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said that there were no "imminent" plans to raise the pandemic alert level to 6, but that “even if WHO does declare phase six -- a pandemic -- that would be a statement about the geographic spread of the virus, not its severity."

Given that the term "pandemic" can send people around the world into a panic -- CNN pointed out recently that pandemic sounds like combining "panic" and "epidemic" -- the international health agency is cautioning people not to assume catastrophe is at hand. A pandemic describes an outbreak that is spreading globally, but the term says little about its lethality. Early indications, at least, suggest that swine flu may not be more lethal than the regular flu -- which is cause for concern, but not for panic.

Cautioning against leaping to the wrong conclusion, WHO chief Margaret Chan said: “Level 6 does not mean...we are coming near to the end of the world.”

By Shankar Vedantam  |  May 4, 2009; 11:16 AM ET
Categories:  New Cases , Opinions  
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Next: Four Maryland Flu Cases Confirmed

Comments

Republicans are Racists.

Look at their rants against Mexicans.

Posted by: PoliticalCommentator | May 4, 2009 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Concentration camps for living creatures is never a good thing. This case is another proof.

For our children sake, it is time to leave out the meat and other animal products. Check out websites like http://www.MeatAlternatives.org and see how many options (healthier ones) we humans have.

Right now, we are slaughtering our only plant. Let's wake up before it will be too late.

"The human appetite for animal flesh is a driving
force behind virtually every major category of
environmental damage now threatening the human future.
Deforestation, erosion, fresh water scarcity,
air and water pollution, climate change, biodiversity loss,
social injustice, the destabilization of communities,
and the spread of disease."
Editors, World Watch, July/August 2004

Posted by: DonaldWatson | May 4, 2009 12:18 PM | Report abuse

The only thing worse than a PETA rant is a poorly written PETA rant.

Posted by: ttmoore | May 4, 2009 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Rip-off's the word.
The Sky is falling. Got to buy umbrellas.
Greed's the real disease.

Posted by: ElMugroso | May 4, 2009 3:46 PM | Report abuse

SWINE FLU UPDATE

Global Elite Commit Genocide by Relesing Bio-Engineered H1N1 Swine Influenza A Virus to Innocent Civilian Populations!

Click Here: http://wallstreetmarketnews.blogspot.com/2009/05/global-elite-commits-genocide-by.html

Posted by: SexismSucks | May 4, 2009 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Well, too bad for them. The prefix pan is usually followed with a continent like Pan-America according to my dictionary.

Making reference to the 1918 Pandemic gives it a certain fear factor because everyone has to include those scary numbers of 300-400 million dead, why, I don't know. But in this case, sounds closer of an assimilation to pandora's box opening up a global catstrophe. And let's face it, catastrophe or the "what if" factor gets alot of ratings in the media.

Again, pennicillin, the first antibiotic was not invented until 1928 or 10 years after the Pandemic of 1918. When one mentions the pandemic of 1918, I see dead people, but that is just me ;).

Posted by: crowbar8Prying | May 4, 2009 5:02 PM | Report abuse

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