San Francisco, June 11: The second death Thursday of a middle-aged man in Alameda County has been reported by the Public Health Department, which linked the incident to the swine flu. The man, yet not identified, was suffering from chronic health problems too.
The deceased who had been hospitalized for pre-existing health conditions died Wednesday. The news came in two days after the first death was reported in the county. The first death, reported on June 9, also involved a middle-aged man. He was also suffering from prior chronic illness.
Alameda County health officials confirmed that their county has 49 confirmed and 10 probable H1N1 cases known as influenza Type A. Berkeley has five swine flu cases so far.
As of June 11, WHO reports that nearly 30,000 confirmed cases have been reported in 74 nations, including 144 deaths.
Infection declared pandemic
As infections in the US, Europe, Australia, South America and elsewhere climbed up to nearly 30,000 cases, WHO has declared the infection pandemic Thursday.
At this point, WHO considers “the overall severity of the influenza pandemic to be moderate”. It said, “This assessment is based on scientific evidence available to WHO, as well as input from its member states on the pandemic's impact on their health systems, and their social and economic functioning.”
Pandemic level not a surprise
Dr. Tomas Aragon, executive director of the Center for Infectious Diseases and Emergency Readiness at UC Berkeley, said that this announcement did not come as a surprise.
He said, “We in public health already knew it was a pandemic because it has spread around the world. It’s just an official’s declaration of something everybody already sees as obvious. It doesn’t change anything we are going to be doing in the U.S. It’s been here for a while. It really will affect those countries that haven’t seen an outbreak yet more.”
Dr. Margaret Chan, director-general of WHO, said in a speech Thursday morning that the virus “preferentially infected younger people, with the majority of cases occurring in people under the age of 25. Most severe and fatal cases were reported in adults between the ages of 30 and 50.”