Pandemic Alert Raised to Phase 5WHO Sees Imminent Global Outbreak of Swine Flu The World Health Organization Wednesday raised its pandemic alert for swine flu to the second highest level, an indication that a global outbreak of the disease is imminent.
The phase 5 alert means sustained human-to-human spread in at least two countries has occurred. It also signals that efforts to produce a vaccine will be ramped up. WHO has confirmed human cases of swine flu in Mexico, United States, Canada, Britain, Israel, New Zealand and Spain. Mexico and the U.S. have reported deaths.
WHO Director-General Margaret Chan reports that the decision was made to raise the alert level from phase 4 - signifying transmission in only one country - after reviewing the latest scientific evidence on the outbreak.
The Mexican government has ordered all unnecessary businesses to close, and all schools were shut earlier in the week to slow the spread of the flu virus. In Texas, a Wednesday announcement that all sporting events at secondary schools would be cancelled or postponed shows the level of concern. For banking institutions that need more information see Swine Flu: 5 Tips to Ensure Pandemic Preparation.