WHO is now referring to the new influenza virus as Influenza A (H1N1) rather than “Swine Flu” to more accurately describe the virus. There is NO risk of infection from this virus from consumption of well-cooked pork and pork products.
The current situation regarding the outbreak of influenza A (H1N1) continues to evolve. As of 1600 GMT, 3 May 2009, 18 countries have reported 898 cases of influenza A (H1N1). Mexico has reported 506 confirmed human cases of infection, including 19 deaths. The higher number of cases from Mexico in the past 48 hours reflects ongoing testing of previously collected specimens. The United States government has reported 226 laboratory confirmed human cases, including 1 death.[i]
The following countries have reported laboratory confirmed cases with no deaths - Austria (1), Canada (85), China’s Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (1), Costa Rica (1), Denmark (1), France (2), Germany (8), Ireland (1), Israel (3), Italy (1), Netherlands (1), New Zealand (4), Republic of Korea (1), Spain (40), Switzerland (1) and the United Kingdom (15).1
In the Western Pacific Region, influenza A (H1N1) cases have so far been confirmed in three countries, one in China’s Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, four in New Zealand and one in Korea. In addition there are also 13 probable cases in New Zealand. All countries in the Western Pacific Region have been asked to intensify surveillance. There are no confirmed cases in Pacific island countries at this time.
WHO advises no restriction of regular travel or closure of borders. WHO also does not recommend the screening of travelers as this measure has not been effective in past epidemics. It is considered prudent for people who are ill to delay international travel and for people developing symptoms following international travel to seek medical attention, in line with guidance from national authorities. If you have recently traveled to an affected area and you develop symptoms within 7 days since you left the affected area, please seek medical care immediately and let staff know about your travel history.
Like most respiratory infections, influenza is mostly transmitted through direct contact such as shaking hands, or at short distances by coughing or sneezing. WHO advises people to:
· wash hands thoroughly with soap and water on a regular basis,
· cover their nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing,
· not touch their face,
· seek medical attention if they develop any symptoms of influenza-like illness
· stay at home if they are ill
If you notice an unusual amount of flu-like illness in your community, call your public health department and let them know about it.
In addition to the above advice, travelers traveling to affected areas are also advised to avoid:
· crowded situations especially indoors
· shaking hands and kissing when exchanging greetings
· close contact (less than 2 metres) with people who are obviously ill
Further information for travelers is available from the Center for Disease Control, a WHO Collaborating Centre at http://wwwn.cdc.gov/travel/contentSwineFlu.aspx
[i] WHO, Influenza Update 12, 3 May 2009, 1600 GMT.