Phase 4 is characterized by verified human-to-human transmission of an animal or human-animal influenza reassortant virus able to cause “community-level outbreaks.” The ability to cause sustained disease outbreaks in a community marks a significant upwards shift in the risk for a pandemic. Any country that suspects or has verified such an event should urgently consult with WHO so that the situation can be jointly assessed and a decision made by the affected country if implementation of a rapid pandemic containment operation is warranted. Phase 4 indicates a significant increase in risk of a pandemic but does not necessarily mean that a pandemic is a forgone conclusion. Courtesy of the WHO.
- CDC. Guidance for Clinicians & Public Health Professionals. http://www.cdc.gov/swineflu/guidance/. Available at http://www.cdc.gov/swineflu/guidance/. Accessed April 27, 2009.
- CDC. Interim Guidance on Antiviral Recommendations for Patients with Confirmed or Suspected Swine Influenza A (H1N1) Virus Infection and Close Contacts. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Available at http://www.cdc.gov/swineflu/recommendations.htm. Accessed April 28, 2009.
- WHO. Swine Influenza Frequently Asked Questions. World Health Organization. Available at http://www.who.int/csr/swine_flu/swine_flu_faq_26april.pdf. Accessed April 27, 2009.
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