Friday, June 12, 2009

Fwd: Level 6 Pandemic Declared by WHO!

Don't panic!  But prepare for the fall.

On Thu, Jun 11, 2009 at 8:21 PM, Cheryl Driggs wrote:

As predicted in our last newsletter, the World Health Organization has officially declared the H1N1 Influenza a worldwide pandemic.

Also, as expected, WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan was careful to qualify that although the infected numbers are high, the severity is low and goes on to declare that raising the level to a level 6 pandemic status is no cause for panic.

(Note: It's been our experience that whenever the public is told not to panic, panic invariably ensues.)

The pandemic announcement means countries will now immediately activate their pandemic plans. The announcement will also trigger drug makers to speed up production of an H1N1 flu vaccine.

The WHO is urging nations not to close borders or restrict travel and trade, though it remains to be seen how closely that advice is followed.

Australia the tipping point?

The development that likely triggered the pandemic announcement was the sudden "community spread" of H1N1 in Victoria, Australia, which signalled it was entrenched in another region besides North America.

"Swine flu" cases in Australia soared to more than 1,000 on Monday and reached 1,260 by late Wednesday. The country now has the fifth-highest number of cases worldwide, after the United States, Mexico, Canada and Chile.

"We have tested 5,500 people in the last two weeks, that is more people than we test in our whole influenza season," Victorian state Premier John Brumby said Thursday as he defended his government's handling of the flu virus.

"Elsewhere around the world, in the United States and Canada, they are only testing the most serious cases."

WHO tips on fighting the spread of H1N1 at home

The World Health Organization has released some tips on pandemic influenza prevention and mitigation, after declaring the H1N1 to be the world's first flu pandemic in four decades...

Social distancing -- keeping at least an arm's length distance away from others and minimizing gatherings -- is one recommended practice to limit contact with people who may be contagious.

Respiratory etiquette should be practiced. By having infected persons cover their coughs and sneezes, there will be less risk of others getting sick. Proper hand hygiene and good household ventilation are also recommended to keep people healthy.

Wear a facemask whenever you are in close proximity of an infected person.

If you've been reading our newsletters for awhile you probably already know this stuff and hopefully you're well prepared in the event that this virus mutates into something far more serious.

By now you should have accumulated a good supply of face masks for yourself, your family, and your friends. (If you haven't, we urge you to act quickly, as today's Level 6 declaration is bound to produce a run on all available supplies.)

You should have some sort of hand antiseptic and you should be using it on a **regular basis.

You should have a stockpile of essentials such as food, medications, water and other important items (you can find a list on our website.)

It's worth repeating...this virus, although nasty, is not the killer we expected when it first emerged out of Mexico a couple of months ago. Hopefully it will remain relatively benign, but most experts are worried that when it re-emerges during the fall flu season in the north it could have mutated into a much more dangerous strain.

Your best defence, now and in the future, is to be prepared.

Wishing you continued good health

Bob & Julie Butler

**While it's important to be using hand sanitizers on a regular basis during a flu pandemic, it's not such a good idea during normal times. Not only do they kill the bad bugs, they also kill the good ones. Your immune system is constantly bombarded with different pathogens that it learns how to fight. If you eliminate them all, you're making the job a lot tougher.

Penny Freeman
Gratitude is the essence of joy.

Penny Freeman
Gratitude is the essence of joy.

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