Speculation grows that the world is in the grip of an official flu pandemic
As the number of confirmed swine flu cases in the UK hits 750, speculation is growing that the world is in the grip of an official flu ‘pandemic’.
74 countries have officially reported 27,737 cases of Swine Flu including 141 deaths. Most of the cases have been in North America, but 32 cases were confirmed in Scotland on 10 June, and one in Northern Ireland today, bringing the UK total to 750.
Officials at the World Health Organisation (WHO) are reportedly due to meet today (Thursday) to discuss the worldwide spread of the disease.
According to today’s Independent, the last global pandemic was declared in 1968 over an outbreak of Hong Kong flu, which killed about one million people.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Health said: ‘we are continuing to work to slow the spread of the disease and to put in place arrangements to ensure that the UK is well-placed to deal with this new infection. But we must not be complacent – it is right to prepare for the possibility of a global pandemic.’
The WHO currently classes the swine flu outbreak as a level five on the pandemic scale, one short of a full pandemic rating of level six.