GENEVA, Switzerland (CNN) -- The World Health Organization raised its pandemic alert to 5, its second-highest level Wednesday, indicating the outbreak of swine flu that originated in Mexico is nearing widespread human infection.Dr. Margaret Chan, the U.N. agency's director-general, said the decision mean to raise the alert to 5 on its 6-point scale indicated that all countries should "immediately" activate pandemic preparedness plans."This change to a higher phase of alert is a signal to governments, to ministries of health and other ministries, to the pharm industry and the business community that certain actions now should be taken with increased urgency and at an accelerated pace," Chan said.The annoucement came as the number of people infected with swine flu increased rapidly across the world, and health officials scrambled to get more information about the virus -- which has no vaccine.Germany and Austria became the latest European countries to report swine flu on Wednesday, while the number of cases increased in the United Kingdom and Spain.read more: www.cnn.com
_________________SI Moderator - Greg Gordon
Swine influenza, or flu, is a contagious respiratory disease that affects pigs.When the flu spreads person to person, instead of from animals to humans, it can continue to mutate, making it harder to treat or fight, because people have no natural immunity.Symptoms include fever, runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.Common seasonal flu kills 250,000 to 500,000 people every year worldwide, far more than the current outbreak of swine flu. But there is a vaccine for seasonal flu.
Maybe some pharmecuetical company is desperate to make more money....so let's just scare folks...ginnyrose