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Flu pandemic protection call from WHO

Tuesday March 12th, 2019

The world needs to step up preparation to protect the population from pandemic influenza, the World Health Organisation has warned.

A century after so-called Spanish flu killed millions, WHO said another pandemic was inevitable.

It says that seasonal flu outbreaks could be prevented while animal to human transmission of the virus must be controlled.

WHO called for all countries to have tailored influenza programmes – and for scientists to develop improved technologies to prevent, control and treat the disease.

It says that a billion people succumb to the virus annually while up to five million suffer severe disease and 650,000 may die.

Director-general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said: “The on-going risk of a new influenza virus transmitting from animals to humans and potentially causing a pandemic is real. The question is not if we will have another pandemic, but when.

"We must be vigilant and prepared – the cost of a major influenza outbreak will far outweigh the price of prevention.”

He added: "With the partnerships and country-specific work we have been doing over the years, the world is better prepared than ever before for the next big outbreak, but we are still not prepared enough.

“This strategy aims to get us to that point. Fundamentally, it is about preparing health systems to manage shocks, and this only happens when health systems are strong and healthy themselves.”

Tags: Flu & Viruses | World Health

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