By Chelsea Schilling
© 2009 WorldNetDaily
H1N1 (photo: CDC)
In light of a perceived swine flu outbreak, the World Health Organization raised its influenza pandemic alert to its second highest level in May – but evidence reveals the agency may have made it easier to classify the flu outbreak as a pandemic by changing its definition to omit “enormous numbers of deaths and illness” just prior to making its declaration.
WHO, a specialized agency of the United Nations, issued its pandemic declaration – the first in 40 years – just as 74 countries had reported 144 deaths from the novel H1N1 infection.
The world was gripped with fears of swine flu as the alert increased from Phase 5 to Phase 6, the highest level. Immediately, pharmaceutical companies began working to develop vaccines, and countries tailored their responses to address the situation.
Dr. Thomas Frieden, who assumed leadership of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, on June 8, announced that the U.S. would respond aggressively to the virus.
“There has been excellent global cooperation with the World Health Organization, with countries around the world,” Frieden said. “This is one of the many conditions that reminds us that we are all connected and many of our decisions in the U.S. will rely on good information from countries in Latin America, in Africa, in Asia, Australia and elsewhere. It’s very important that we confront this jointly.”
The current WHO phase of pandemic alert remains at 6, indicating a full-blown global pandemic.
But in early May, just prior to the initial declaration, WHO made little-noticed changes to its definition of a pandemic.
The previous definition of a pandemic stated:
An influenza pandemic occurs when a new influenza virus appears against which the human population has no immunity, resulting in several, simultaneous epidemics worldwide with enormous numbers of deaths and illness. With the increase in global transport and communications, as well as urbanization and overcrowded conditions, epidemics due the new influenza virus are likely to quickly take hold around the world (emphasis added). Continue reading . . .