H1N1 flu decreasing, but may 'explode'

BEIJING, Aug 21, 2009 (UPI via COMTEX) -- H1N1 flu does not appear to have
mutated in South America, but World Health Organization officials in China say
the pandemic is expected to "explode."

Dr. Shin Young-soo, WHO's regional director for the Western Pacific region, said
Friday in Beijing the H1N1 virus is entering an "acceleration period," and most
countries may see a doubling of cases every three to four days for two months
until peak transmission is reached, CNN reported.

"At a certain point, there will seem to be an explosion in case numbers. I
believe it is very likely that all countries will see community-level
transmission by the end of the year," he said.

During a media briefing Friday, officials at the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention in Atlanta said the H1N1 influenza virus continues to be the dominant
influenza virus in circulation in the world, but case numbers in South America
and parts of Australia -- which it is winter flu season -- appear to be
dropping. In the United States, influenza activity decreased and has low levels
of influenza, but there are higher levels of influenza-like illness in Alaska
and Maine. The CDC said 522 people have died of H1N1.

The United Kingdom reports decreases in disease due to H1N1 flu. In contrast,
H1N1 influenza is continuing to increase in Africa. More than 1,490 people
around the world have died from H1N1 flu.

The H1N1 outbreak started in Mexico in April.

URL: www.upi.com

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

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