San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Flu virus labelled pandemic by World Health Organization

As the number of Influenza A(H1N1) flu cases crept past 100 in Costa Rica, the World Health Organization declared the worldwide situation a pandemic.

Based on the virus´ international reach, the ease of spread and the inability to predict its path, the organization raised its health alert to a Level 6 on Thursday.

“The virus is contagious, spreading easily from one person to another, and from one country to another,” said Margaret Chan, director general of the World Health Organization. “As of today, nearly 30,000 confirmed cases have been reported in 74 countries…On the basis of available evidence…the scientific criteria for an influenza pandemic have been met.”

Since it was first detected in the neighbourhoods of Mexico City in mid-March, the virus has made its way to nearly every continent and caused 144 deaths.

In Costa Rica, of the more than 2,000 people examined, there are currently 104 confirmed cases, one death, and 10 likely cases awaiting testing.

Symptoms of the virus include fever, headache, cough, sore throat, body aches and fatigue. Health officials recommend contacting medical personal if you are experiencing symptoms and/or have been in contact with known cases.

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