08/21/2009, 00.00
ASIA
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WHO warning: swine flu "explosion", governments ready to intervene

For a group of nations experts predict a "doubling" in cases "every three or four days”, until the peak is reached. As of August 13 more than 182 thousand infected and about 1,800 deaths. In poor countries there is a risk of overcrowding in hospitals. In two years one third of the world population will be affected by the disease.

Beijing (AsiaNews / Agencies) - In the coming months there will be an "explosion" in cases of swine influenza, the world's governments must "speed up preparations" to ensure an effective response against the pandemic. This is the new warning issued by the World Health Organization (WHO) which, for a group of nations forecasts a doubling in cases every “three or four days” in “a period several over several months”, until "the peak of infection” is reached.

The experts predict that over the next two years, up to two billion people - one third of the world's population - could be infected by the H1N1 virus. "At some point, we will see an explosion of cases," said Shin Young-soo, director of Asia-Pacific section of the WHO, in a medical symposium held in Beijing. "It is certain that there will be more cases and more deaths”.  

Data updated to August 13, available on the World Health Organization website reports that since April there have been 182,166 cases and 1799 deaths in the world. The American continent is the most affected - where there were the first recorded cases - with 105,882 cases and 1579 deaths. In South-East Asia there are 13,172 cases and 106 deaths.

 

Bloomberg reports the warning issued by health authorities in New Zealand: there are no more available hospital beds and not enough nurses to care for the sick. A similar situation is occurring in Australia and, with the arrival of Autumn, such a scenario might appear in Europe or the United States, although health ministries are taking action in the production of vaccines.  

Shin Young-soo stressed that "governments must act quickly to educate the public, prepare their health systems for the treatment of many cases and protect the weakest”.  These include pregnant women, asthmatics, those afflicted by cardiovascular disease and diabetes. "We only have a short time period - reiterates the WHO expert - to reach the state of preparedness deemed necessary”.  

In the past the WHO has repeatedly explained that "most swine flu cases do not require treatment”, but the fear is that an explosion in the infection “may overburden hospitals, especially in poor countries”.

 
 
 
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