Wednesday, February 24, 2010

WHO says too early to declare swine flu peak over

GENEVA — It is too early to say that the swine flu pandemic has peaked in all parts of the world, the World Health Organisation's emergency committee said Tuesday.

"The Committee advised that it was premature to conclude that all parts of the world have experienced peak transmission of the H1N1 pandemic influenza," a spokesman said, adding more "time and information was needed."

Gregory Hartl said the decision of 15 experts was not binding and that a final decision would be taken by WHO Secretary General Margaret Chan.

Several countries have been running down their costly special pandemic flu precautions in recent weeks, while new recommendations issued by the WHO for later this year incorporate the A(H1N1) virus into seasonal vaccines.

Nearly 16,000 people have died worldwide from the new A(H1N1) strain after it spread into 212 countries and overseas territories since it was uncovered in Mexico and the United States in April 2009, WHO data showed.

Overall, swine flu was declining in most of the northern hemisphere, except for recent reported increases in West Africa.

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