Cases of Swine Flu Grow in US, Internationally
The US Center for Disease Control has issued an update on the Swine Flu outbreak.
The CDC reports additional cases of confirmed swine influenza and a number of hospitalizations of swine flu patients. Internationally, the situation is more serious too, with additional countries reporting confirmed cases of swine flu. In response to the intensifying outbreak, the World Health Organization raised the worldwide pandemic alert level to Phase 4.
A Phase 4 alert is characterized by confirmed person-to-person spread of a new influenza virus able to cause "community-level" outbreaks. The increase in the pandemic alert phase indicates that the likelihood of a pandemic has increased.
CDC has activated its emergency operations center to coordinate the agency’s emergency response. CDC's goals are to reduce transmission and illness severity, and provide information to help health care providers, public health officials and the public address the challenges posed by this swine influenza virus. Yesterday, CDC issued a travel warning recommending that people avoid non-essential travel to Mexico. CDC continues to issue interim guidance daily on the website and through health alert network notices. CDC's Division of the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) is releasing one-quarter of its antiviral drugs, personal protective equipment, and respiratory protection devices to help states respond to the outbreak. The swine influenza A (H1N1) virus is susceptible to the prescription antiviral drugs oseltamivir and zanamivir. This is a rapidly evolving situation and CDC will provide updated guidance and new information as it becomes available.