Swine Flu: Worldwide Update
Media reports suggest that the deadly H1N1 swine flu virus, which has killed sixteen people and infected hundreds worldwide, is continuing to spread. According to the United Nations’ World Health Organisation, there are a total of 331 confirmed cases of swine flu throughout the world, with hundreds more suspected cases.
The WHO raised its pandemic alert level to its fifth level on Friday, on a scale of one to six, and has said that it is possible a transition to the highest level will be made.
The Canadian government increased the number of swine flu incidents in their country to 51 on Friday, with seventeen new cases having been reported throughout the day. Canada now has the third highest number of swine flu cases reported by country, following Mexico and the United States. “All of them [swine flu cases] are relatively mild,” said Gordon Campbell, the premier of British Columbia. “Unfortunately, we may see some deaths. It’s important for us to recognize that.”
The breakdown of cases in Canada by province is as follows: fifteen in British Columbia, fourteen in Nova Scotia, twelve in Ontario, eight in Alberta, one in New Brunswick, and one in Quebec.
Health authorities in Alberta said they have found the first human-to-animal transmission of the virus. Dr. Brain Evans said a Canadian who returned from Mexico on April 12 infected a pig farm that he worked at. Around two hundred pigs have been quarantined and are now waiting to recover. At this time, there is no evidence of humans getting the virus from infected pigs.
Despite assurances from public health officials that the H1N1 virus is not transmitted to humans from animals, the Egyptian government has ordered all 400,000 pigs in the country to be slaughtered, a move that the UN has denounced as “a real mistake”.
Medical staff are to check passengers arriving at Cairo airport from Mexico, and monitor them during their stay in Egypt. No cases of swine flu have yet been reported in the country.
German officials have said that a nurse living in Bavaria obtained the virus, apparently contracting it from a patient that had recently visited Mexico. The nurse has since recovered. Germany has had the second case of human-to-human transmission of the virus, other than Mexico, raising concerns of a possible pandemic. Spain was the first country to have reported a transmission of the flu from a person that had not visited Mexico.