Wednesday, April 29, 2009

World Health Organization Raises Alert Level on Flu

In keeping with my opposition to media paraphrasing when the exact language is available, here is how the World Health Organization defines its pandemic phase levels. (See chart here.)

The WHO has now raised the phase to 5. Here are the WHO definitions for Phases 5 and 6:

"Phase 5 is characterized by human-to-human spread of the virus into at least two countries in one WHO region. While most countries will not be affected at this stage, the declaration of Phase 5 is a strong signal that a pandemic is imminent and that the time to finalize the organization, communication, and implementation of the planned mitigation measures is short.

Phase 6, the pandemic phase, is characterized by community-level outbreaks in at least one other country in a different WHO region in addition to the criteria defined in Phase 5. Designation of this phase will indicate that a global pandemic is under way."


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