Swine flu becomes first pandemic in 41 years The World Health Organization told its member nations it was declaring a swine flu pandemic Thursday — the first global flu epidemic in 41 years — as infections climbed in the United States, Europe, Australia, South America and elsewhere. U.S. officials said today they've taken an early aggressive approach and the WHO announcement won't change how it's been dealing with the issue. The WHO designation is based on geographic spread and not on the nature of the disease, U.S. officials said.
WHO flu chief Keiji Fukuda said the disease has reached 64 countries and infected 18,965 people, causing 117 deaths. WHO is now debating whether to add a second measure that indicates how dangerous the virus is — rather than just how widespread — after several countries raised concerns that declaring a global pandemic could cause mass confusion and panic even though it is still unclear how dangerous the virus will be.
Eight suspected cases were reported Friday in Minnesota. Wisconsin reports 14 probable cases.
May 02, 2009
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