MEXICO CITY – MEXICO reported two more swine flu deaths on Tuesday, as World Health Organisation scientists asked if it had moved too quickly to declare the outbreak a pandemic. (a pandemic hasn’t been declared yet.-cottontop)
Authorities in Mexico said the death toll had risen to 85, and infected cases rose to 4,721 with scientists advancing through a backlog of samples.
New cases were reported across the globe, as A(H1N1) cases worldwide soared to nearly 13,000. The virus has caused 92 deaths and infected 12,954 people in 46 countries since it was first uncovered last month, according to the WHO’s latest figures. With the continued spread of the disease, the WHO enlisted scientists to help clear up the criteria needed for declaring a pandemic, amid concern the response of the Geneva headquartered body may have caused undue fear and disruption.
The move follows appeals by several countries for more caution before moving up a step from the current phase five alert to declaring a pandemic for the new A(H1N1) virus. In many parts of the world the outbreak has hit trade, and the economic losses are only now becoming clearer.
Tuesday’s WHO figures show the biggest growth in swine flu cases in the United States, with 212 more people infected, and one more death, bringing the US total to 6,764 and 12 deaths.
The WHO’s Assistant Director General Keiji Fukuda admitted it was quite possible the A(H1N1) influenza would continue to spread to other countries and would probably then be considered a pandemic. The UN health agency wants to look more closely at how and when it should declare a flu outbreak as a pandemic, a phase six alert.