Puzzling and Troubling

The W.H.O. quietly announced today that it would stop tracking swine flu cases and deaths worldwide.  This move was said to have baffled experts.  Certainly, it cannot be because those numbers have been declining:

“The last W.H.O. update, issued on July 6, showed 94,512 confirmed cases in 122 countries, with 429 deaths.

Many epidemiologists have pointed out that, in reality, millions of people have had swine flu, usually in a mild form, so the numbers of laboratory-confirmed cases were actually meaningless. And performing the tests has overwhelmed many national laboratories.

The briefing note said countries would still be asked to report their first few confirmed cases. It also said countries should watch for clusters of fatalities, which could indicate that the virus had mutated to a more lethal form.”

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German authorities warn of swine flu mutation risk

Germany’s federal agency for infectious diseases said on Tuesday there were signs the H1N1 swine flu virus had started to mutate and warned it could spread in the coming months in a more aggressive form…

WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan said recently the virus is currently “pretty stable,” but warned it could still change into a more deadly form, perhaps mixing with the H5N1 bird flu virus circulating widely in poultry.”

Oh, man.  If swine flu and bird flu mix into a virus easily spread among people, that would really, really suck.  But, I think a lot people are just saying things to be alarmists.  I’m not ashamed to admit I am one of them.

Current stats: 5,5867 confirmed cases world-wide, and 238 deaths.

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