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The Pandemic Threat


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The WHO knows that sooner than we'd like, the world will face another devastating pandemic.

The threat of a pandemic, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) is too unpredictable to be predicted with any kind of accuracy. However, they do offer a lot of information on the current threat level, advice to the public and preparedness measured. They also provide situation updates regarding the H5N1 avian influenza situation and some basic information about that particular threat.

According to the current WHO alert, there is currently no evidence of human-to-human transmission of any current virus. That does place the world in the level 3, “pandemic alert” phase, without any confirmation of a change in the method of transmission.


The next in the pandemic threat would be level 4, which will be increased human-to-human transmission.

Level 5 is the “orange alert”, and means there is significant human-to-human transmission. Of course, there’s no indication as to how many cases of human-to-human transmissions would move the world into this level for the pandemic threat.

The final and more deadly alert level is level 6, “red alert”. At this level there is evidence of easy or “efficient” and continuing or “sustained” transmission between humans. At that point we are no longer facing a pandemic, but have move into a full-blown virus pandemic.

Around the world and at the WHO, experts are reporting their belief that the threat of a pandemic influenza outbreak is now closer than at anytime since 1968. In that year alone, the last of the 20th century’s three influenza pandemic outbreaks occurred.

As of January 2, 2008 the WHO reported a situation update for the avian influenza (bird flu) after Egypt announced they had two confirmed cases of human bird flu. According to the Egyptian Ministry of Health and Population, both of the females, who died from the virus, had had contact with dead or diseased poultry before they got sick.

Next we’ll look at the pandemic threat of the H5N1 avian influenza or bird flu with regard to the advice offered to the public by the WHO.

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