The World Health Organization raised its global pandemic alert level to Phase 6 today. This means that sustained community transmission of a new influenza virus has now been confirmed in more than one WHO region, and that a global pandemic is now officially declared. Read the Director General's statement to the press.
It is important to note that the change in phase reflects geographical spread of the new influenza A (H1N1) virus, and not the severity of illness that it causes.
At this time, WHO considers the overall severity of the influenza pandemic to be moderate. This assessment is based on scientific evidence available to WHO, as well as input from its Member States on the pandemic's impact on their health systems, and their social and economic functioning.
Countries should prepare to see cases, or the further spread of cases, in the near future. Countries where outbreaks appear to have peaked should prepare for a second wave of infection.
Guidance on specific protective and precautionary measures has been sent to ministries of health in all countries. Countries with no or only a few cases should remain vigilant.
Countries with widespread transmission should focus on the appropriate management of patients. The testing and investigation of patients should be limited, as such measures are resource intensive and can very quickly strain capacities.
WHO continues to recommend no restrictions on travel and no border closures.
PAHO will be hosting a press conference by Dr. Jon K. Andrus on the influenza pandemic on Friday, June 12, at 2pm (Washington DC time). Questions can be sent through e-mail:
. For more information please check PAHO’s website.
For the latest reports on the status of Influenza A(H1N1) in the Americas please check the daily epidemiological alerts available in the PAHO website.