Whether you call it swine flu, the H1N1 flu, or influenza A, the official word is – this has the potential for a pandemic. The Phase 5 alert issued by the World Health Organization will probably go to Phase 6, the highest degree on the pandemic alert scale even though health officials are reporting many cases of the influenza A show symptoms no worse than seasonal flu.
The U.S. has declared a public health emergency, which federal officials say is a precaution. By May 3, 19 countries had officially reported 917 cases of influenza A-H1N1 infection, and 34 states were reporting 245 cases. Reports are coming out that this number is far too low because patients are not routinely tested. New York City’s surveillance director in the bureau of communicable disease told one ailing reporter that there were probably 10,000 people with the flu in New York and quite simply, there was not the capacity to test that.
On May 1 the Indian Health Service said there were no confirmed cases in Indian Country but updated reports say the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde in Oregon closed their offices after a young child tested positive for A-H1N1.