WHO raises pandemic flu alert level to phase 4 - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

WHO raises pandemic flu alert level to phase 4

SPOKANE, Wash. - The World Health Organization has raised its pandemic alert for a new strain of swine flu by one level, two steps short of declaring a full pandemic.

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WHO says the phase 4 alert means there is sustained human-to-human transmission in at least one country.

WHO's assistant director-general Keiji Fukuda adds that "at this time containment is not a feasible option" as the virus has already spread to several other countries.

WHO has confirmed human cases of swine flu in Mexico, the United States, Canada and Spain. Only Mexico has reported deaths from the new strain.

WHO Director-General Margaret Chan made the decision to raise the alert level from phase 3 after emergency consultations with flu experts from around the world Monday.


Wash. state health officials find no swine flu No swine flu has been found in Washington, but health officials are keeping a close watch for any that appear. State Health Department spokesman Tim Church says hospitals, clinics, doctors and other providers are being asked to report all Type A flu cases. Sea-Tac Airport spokesman Perry Cooper says there's no special alert or screening of passengers for swine flu at the airport. >>More

Idaho health officials on swine flu watch The Idaho Division of Public Health has alerted medical providers statewide to monitor respiratory illnesses that might be related to swine flu. >>More

Homeland chief says US preparing for full pandemic

The head of the Homeland Security Department says the United States is preparing as if the swine flu outbreak is a full pandemic.

Secretary Janet Napolitano told reporters Monday that the World Health Organization is operating at level three, with level six a full pandemic. She said officials at the WHO were meeting Monday to consider whether to raise the level.

Napolitano said the U.S. is proceeding as if it were preparing for a full pandemic.

The disease started in Mexico and has spread to the United States and beyond, with 40 reported cases in the U.S.

Homeland: Travel limited until flu abates

The head of the Homeland Security Department says travel warnings to Mexico will remain in place as long as swine flu is detected.

Secretary Janet Napolitano made the announcement at a news conference Monday. She said the Centers for Disease Control had issued an alert and the State Department's version would be forthcoming.

The virus began in Mexico and had spread to the United States and beyond, with 40 cases reported in the U.S. Napolitano said she had been in touch with Mexican officials and border state leaders to coordinate responses to the outbreak.

Napolitano urged Americans to use common sense in dealing with the outbreak, such as frequent hand washing and remaining home from work if ill.

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