WHO to suspend regular swine flu tabulations
Geneva: The World Health Organisation (WHO) will stop issuing regular data on the spread of the H1N1 virus, also known as swine flu, since the counting of individual cases is no longer vital to tracking the progression of the disease, the group reported on its website Friday.
"Further spread of the pandemic, within affected countries and to new countries is considered inevitable," read a statement. "The counting of individual cases is now no longer essential in such countries for monitoring either the level or nature of the risk."
Relieving countries of their swine flu reporting duties should free up more resources in the northern hemisphere for the onslaught of the normal flu season, the group said.
However, the WHO will continue to provide regular reports on the status of the disease in newly infected countries and requested that countries with no recorded H1N1 provide data should they record a case.
It urged all countries to keep an eye out for unusual developments related to the disease, such as clusters of infections or fatalities.
The group noticed that H1N1 has been characterised by its relative mildness, but also by its speed of transmission. "In past pandemics, influenza viruses needed more than six months to spread as widely as the new H1N1 virus has spread in less than six weeks."
In its last report July 6, the WHO recorded 94,512 cases worldwide with 429 deaths. Experts say actual figures could be higher.
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