GENEVA: The World Health Organization said Friday research suggests the A(H1N1) swine flu virus is so contagious it will probably spread to new, so far unaffected regions.
Acting WHO Assistant Director-General Keiji Fukuda said studies by experts indicate a “significant number of people had been infected but remained undetected or unconfirmed by laboratory tests.
“Their work also suggests that the virus is transmissible enough that we will expect to see continued community level outbreaks and regional spread, he told a WHO meeting in Geneva on pandemic preparedness.
Latest WHO data showed 7,520 people in 34 countries were confirmed to have caught the influenza A(H1N1) virus. Some 65 people have died in the outbreak.
“It is still reasonable to expect that at this pace, we have a long-term activity going on.. There will probably be periods of intense activity, said Fukuda.
He said the behavior of the virus would also change depending on “whether it is winter period in one part of the world or another.
The virus had “a very different pattern from normal, seasonal flu with half of those dying being young and otherwise healthy adults, he said.
Dr Hamdy El-Sayyed, head of the Doctors’ Syndicate and chairman of the People’s Assembly’s health committee, said that Egypt is still 100 percent free from the A(H1N1) virus.
The two-day WHO meeting, which began Friday, was scheduled long before the outbreak of swine flu was uncovered in Mexico, to discuss influenza vaccines and iron out a long running dispute over the sharing of bird flu virus samples. -AFP with additional reporting by Daily News Egypt’s Yasmine Saleh.