WHO advice on 'swine flu'

1 May 2009

THE United Nation's World Health Organization (WHO) is co-ordinating the response to the potential pandemic of influenza A (H1N1), which is often referred to as pig flu or swine flu.

In addition to Mexico, where the outbreak began, cases of swine flu have been confirmed in Austria, Canada, Costa Rica, Germany, Israel, New Zealand, Peru, Spain, Switzerland, the Netherlands, the UK and the US. Deaths have been confirmed in Mexico and the US. Moreover, suspected cases are being investigated in many countries including, Australia, Brazil, Guatemala, Peru, South Africa and South Korea.

The early symptoms of swine flu are said to be similar to the more common type of influenza (fever, head ache, chills, sore throat etc) but the WHO is concerned about the relatively high mortality rates of those infected with the influenza A (H1N1) virus.  

The WHO has produced the attached interim guidance on infection prevention and control, which they have emphasised may be revised as their understanding of the virus develops. 

Accordingly, Members may wish to monitor the information available on WHOs dedicated website, which can be accessed by clicking here.

Finally, any Member concerned that a seafarer may have become infected by influenza A (H1N1) should seek prompt medical advice, and some providers of medical assistance are listed in the Medical section of the Links page on this website.