Friday, May 1, 2009

Obama: ‘Whatever it takes’ as swine flu nears pandemic level

Rita Rubin and Elizabeth Weise
April 30, 2009

The world moved to the brink of an global influenza pandemic Wednesday as the fast-spreading swine flu, which has gained at least a toehold in nine countries, claimed its first victim in the USA, a Mexican toddler visiting in Texas.

The World Health Organization raised its global alert level to phase 5, just one level below 6, or “global pandemic,” because the virus appears to be spreading easily person-to-person and cases are appearing that have no link to Mexico. That’s where the virus first began to hit broadly just a few weeks ago.

The new level signifies that “all countries should immediately activate their pandemic preparedness plans,” World Health Organization Director-General Margaret Chan said. The world will need to pull together to deal with the threat, she said, because “it really is all of humanity that is under threat during a pandemic.”

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