Thursday, June 11, 2009

WHO Declares Flu/H1N1 Pandemic, Will Affect Markets, Map of Infections

In a move that is likely to affect markets, WHO, the World Health Organization has told its member nations it is declaring a swine flu pandemic, the first global flu epidemic in 41 years.

Here is a map showing confirmed cases:

(please click to enlarge)

Infections climbed in the United States, Europe, Australia, South America and elsewhere. WHO says there are 27,737 cases in 74 countries, with 141 deaths since the end of April. Here in Ottawa, there are 29 elementary schools with confirmed cases, but schools are open as normal, and business is normal. In Canada, we now have 3,000 cases. Southern hemosphere countries such as Australia and Chile are being hit hard, as expected since it is almost winter there. The number of cases in Canada may perhaps be affected by the very cold spring and rainy weather that we had had since early May. It has been indeed a miserable spring. As for flu, the worth may yet to occur in the fall and winter if a vaccine is not developed in the summer.

In the statement sent to member countries, WHO says it decided to raise the pandemic alert level from 5 to 6, meaning that a global outbreak of swine flu has begun.

The Pandemic will cause further travel reductions and reduce global trade at a time when we desperately needed it to increase. The cold weather here is also affecting crops. Canola, for example, is very significantly delayed. This will also cause an increase in prices at some point in time later this year.

It is important to know that normal flu kills many people every year and there is no need for panic.

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