Microscopic view of influenza virus particles
(Pic by DR FA Murphy, Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention; source: ah1n1.com) KUALA LUMPUR, 12 June 2009: The Health Ministry will activate an inter-ministerial influenza pandemic committee that coordinates all efforts to prevent the outbreak of the H1N1 in the country, Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said.
He said action would be taken following the declaration by the World Health Organisation (WHO) last night, which indicated that H1N1 was now a global pandemic following an emergency meeting at the world health body’s headquarters in Geneva.
“Following the decision by WHO that raised the alert level from phase 5 to 6, the government has to increase our level of preparedness. We are initiating an inter-ministerial Influenza pandemic committee which I will chair,” he told Bernama here tonight.
According to the WHO website, this is the first time the body has declared a global influenza pandemic in its 40-year history.
The last flu pandemic was in 1968-69 after an outbreak of the H3N2 viral strain, which orignated in Hong Kong, and went on to kill at least a million people worldwide. Ordinary flu kills about 250,000 to 500,000 people a year. — Bernama