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WHO warns spread of swine flu is unstoppable

3rd July 2009

The head of the World Health Organisation (WHO) has told a forum in Mexico that the international spread of swine flu cannot be prevented.

Speaking at a two-day summit in Cancun, director general Margaret Chan stressed the summit venue revealed the success of Mexican authorities in controlling the growth of the epidemic.

But with the virus spreading rapidly through Europe and the UK projecting more than 100,000 cases of H1N1 a day by the end of August, swine flu shows little sign of abating.

“As we see today, with well over 100 countries reporting cases, once a fully fit pandemic virus emerges, its further international spread is unstoppable,” Dr Chan said in her opening remarks at the summit.

However, she reassured summit attendees the majority of H1N1 contractions were mild, with many affected recovering without treatment.

Pregnant women and those with underlying health problems were at greatest risk should they be diagnosed with the virus, Dr Chan added, and should be monitored if they became ill.

“For a pandemic of moderate severity, this is one of our greatest challenges – helping people to understand when they do not need to worry, and when they do need to seek urgent care,” she stated.

Since the first alerts over swine flu earlier this year, more than 70,000 people worldwide have been infected, with 300 people killed.

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