Swine flu, or H1N1 influenza, has reached the pandemic level, the World Health Organization warned Thursday — marking the first time it has called a global flu epidemic in 41 years.
"The world is moving into the early days of its first influenza pandemic in the 21st century," WHO's director-general, Margaret Chan, announced in Geneva after consulting health experts in an emergency meeting.
"The virus is now unstoppable. However, we do not expect to see a sudden and dramatic jump in the number of severe and fatal infections," she added.
The announcement means the H1N1 swine flu virus is spreading from person to person in a sustained manner in at least two regions. The swine flu started in North America, but cases have been mounting in Australia, the United Kingdom, Japan and Chile. Further spread is "inevitable," Chan said.
The geographic spread fulfils the UN he
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