from Alert Net
The world must be ready for H1N1 swine flu to become more severe and kill more people, World Health Organization chief Dr. Margaret Chan said on Friday.
A genetic analysis of the new virus showed it must have been circulating undetected for some time, in pigs or perhaps in other animals.
The WHO is poised to declare a full pandemic of the virus, which has infected more than 11,000 people in 42 countries and killed 86. And U.S. health officials released $1 billion for companies to get started on a vaccine in case it is needed.
The virus must be closely monitored in the southern hemisphere, as it could mix with ordinary seasonal influenza and change in unpredictable ways, Chan told the WHO annual congress in Geneva.
“In cases where the H1N1 virus is widespread and circulating within the general community, countries must expect to see more cases of severe and fatal infections,” she said. “This is a subtle, sneaky virus.”