Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

April 29, 2009

WHO counts to 5, one more left

Filed under: General Homeland Security — by Philip J. Palin on April 29, 2009

The World Health Organization has increased its pandemic alert  to Phase 5, one short of a full pandemic at Phase 6.  According to the WHO website, phase 5 is announced when human-to-human transmission has occurred in at least two countries.  “While most countries will not be affected at this stage, the declaration of Phase 5 is a strong signal that a pandemic is imminent and that the time to finalize the organization, communication, and implementation of the planned mitigation measures is short.”  At 5:15 pm (eastern) the WHO website was still referencing Phase 4.  This has been superceded.

There is a related report from the BBC.

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Comment by William R. Cumming

April 29, 2009 @ 6:06 pm

Okay looks like a nitpick but not to me! US media really trying hard to pin this on Mexico. Some evidence for that and some contrary. It looks to me and as always could be wrong that WHO should have been at Level 4 by April 10 and Level 5 by April 18th and probably at Level 6 now based on their fairly recently revised criteria. But hey someone will figure it out. Also why the extended period when no coverage of DNA compostion of the virus and that was NOT Swine Flu? I really do think economics as opposed to scientific knowledge orchestrated the change but in this case science on the side of the swine industry. Seems combination of swine/avian/human for all I have been able to read so really H1N1prime. Okay so now that we are at Level 5 what specific mitigation steps have been recommended not by blogs, or media but by authorities? And is any of this mandatory at this point or all voluntary? And now what will it really mean to be at Level 6?

Comment by Bertha

April 30, 2009 @ 9:38 am

It really seems weird to me that our President was just there and now we have a out break. Is it a terrorist attack against our country,to our President?

Comment by Philip J. Palin

April 30, 2009 @ 12:40 pm


The coincidence is disconcerting. According to the Sunday White House briefing the possibility has been investigated. The issue was posed to Mr. Brennan, the President’s Special Assistant for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, who reponded that there was no indication that this was anything other than a naturally occuring viral mutation. Further, the most recent genetic studies suggest that — as these dangerous critters go — the new H1N1 strain is comparatively weak, certainly not weaponized. Finally, some counterterrorist experts argue that the most capable terrorist organizations (those most likely to have biological weapons capability)are unlikely to deploy an agent quite as indisciminate as pandemic disease. Such a decision could produce a nasty response from those on whom the terrorists depend for logistics, communications, financing, and more.

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