WHO did not overrate swine flu, says official

Yasmine Saleh
3 Min Read

CAIRO: Hassan Al-Boushra, head of World Health Organization (WHO) office in Cairo, refuted accusations by international experts and journalists who said that the organization overestimated the gravity of the A(H1N1) virus, causing global panic.

During an appearance on “Al-Beit Betak talk show last Wednesday, Al-Boushra said the WHO raised the pandemic alert to level five, on a scale of six, “because the disease is characterized by human-to-human transmission.

According to the show’s host, Tamer Amin, the WHO is accused of overplaying the virus in order to boost antiviral drugs’ sales, which would in turn boost western economies suffering from the current financial crisis.

Al-Boushra rebuffed all accusations, indicating that details pertaining to the virus’ gravity are listed on the WHO’s official website.

The Ministry of Health still maintains that Egypt remains free of the swine flu.

Incoming visitors to Egypt undergo medical check ups at the airport, the ministry’s press office said.

Still, Egypt remains adamant in its campaign to cull the country’s pigs and close down pig farms.

Minister of Local Development Abdel Salam Mahgoub told the press that around 500 pig farms have been closed down. In the meantime, the governorate of Giza announced that it has eradicated all pigs located in its slum areas by slaughtering over 29,000 pigs.

Meanwhile, the Minister of State for Environmental Affairs Maged George sent official letters to Egypt’s governors, detailing sanitary ways to dispose of slaughtered pigs, according to a statement.

The ministry’s statement advised all those involved in the disposing of pigs to wear the specified uniforms as a safety measure.

The ministry also dedicated special cars to carry pigs’ corpses to the designated burial ground.

By press time, the WHO confirmed that 39 countries have officially reported 8,480 cases of influenza A(H1N1).

According to the WHO, Mexico reported 2,895 confirmed cases, and 66 deaths. The United States also reported 4,714 confirmed cases, including four deaths. Canada reported 496 confirmed human cases, including one death and Costa Rica reported nine confirmed human cases, including one death.

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