APRIL 30, 2009 3:13PM

Flu Monitoring News: Chan, Sebelius on Alert

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WHO Director Margaret Chan's voice was steady and quiet this afternoon. as she said some fearful words: "I have decided to raise the level of influenza pandemic alert from Phase 4 to Phase 5." But Chan, like the other women managing our national response to this crisis, was less fearful than practical. Reuters reports:

"The world is better prepared for an influenza pandemic than at any time in history," Chan said. "For the first time in history we can track the pandemic in real time."

In Mexico up to 159 people have died and about 1,300 more are being tested. In the United States a 22-month-old boy has died in Texas while on a visit from Mexico.

According to the WHO's pandemic flu response guidelines, a Phase 5 alert is called when there is sustained human-to-human spread of the virus in at least two countries in one region.

sebeliusofficialphotoAfter the first swine flu death occurred in Mexico and the number of U.S. cases approached 100, Chan and the other women we noted Monday kept working on coordinating responses to the epidemic. And today they gained a new partner, in the form of Kathleen Sebelius, the newly confirmed U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services. Continue reading at Women's Voices For Change.

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