WHO set to declare flu pandemic


The World Health Organization is set to announce a swine flu pandemic after confirmed cases of H1N1 virus continue to climb worldwide.

The U.N. health agency raised the alert level to phase 5 two months ago, meaning a global epidemic is imminent. Moving to phase 6, the highest level, means a pandemic has begun. That declaration would push pharmaceutical companies to start on fast-track production of a swine flu vaccine.

By early Thursday morning, WHO had recorded more than 27,700 cases in 74 countries, with 141 deaths.

The emergency meeting would begin Thursday noon in Geneva and WHO member nations would be informed of the result.

UPDATE: The World Health Organization has declared swine flu an official pandemic and the alert level was raised from Phase 5 to 6.