With the pandemic now in its fourth week, swine flu has spread to all continents. It is fortunate there have not been many deaths attributed to H1N1 to date.
Public health officials earlier stated that geographic spread of the influenza A (H1N1) virus is continuing, with the World Health Organization (WHO) reporting over 1,000 laboratory-confirmed cases of infection caused by the virus. There have been more than 100 deaths across 20 countries. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is reporting at least 800 probable cases in 44 states and two deaths in the United States.

"The greatest number of cases is in Mexico, the US, and Canada. But there are reports of cases in Europe, Asia, and in Latin America," Keiji Fukuda, MD, MPH, assistant director-general ad. interim for health security and environment at the WHO said at a press conference. "We see movement of the virus south, but we do not have any evidence that the virus is undergoing community-level transmission right now," he added.

For now, the WHO is keeping the pandemic alert level at phase 5. An increase to phase 6 will take place if community-level transmission occurs in more than 1 WHO region. Currently, such outbreaks are taking place only in North America.

"The situation continues to evolve," Dr. Fukuda said.

He added that the new influenza strain causes a spectrum of illness from those with very mild symptoms to cases that result in death. In Mexico, there have been cases of severe pneumonia and deaths occurring in young, healthy people. They have also noticed that diarrhea is reported more often than with seasonal influenza, with about 40% to 50% of patients developing diarrhea.
The only one confirmed case of H1N1 in Hong Kong is still being treated in hospital while all those who have been quarantined as a result of coming into contact with the patient have been released after seven days of confinement. Many in Hong Kong are relieved. Similarly, it looks as if things are also leveling off in Mexico.
However, countries are still being very cautious and vigilant. Stockpiles of antiviral drugs are being deployed to every state of the USA along with H1N1 test kits.
It is expected that all US states will have some confirmed cases and that there will be ongoing hospitalizations and additional deaths in the US. Nevertheless, it seems possible that with vigilance, the spread of H1N1 may be checked and lives will be spared.

In fact, there is much that each of us can do as individuals to halt the spread of H1N1. Hygienic habits, clean environments and vigilance are crucial. Keeping ourselves healthy by taking adequate rest and strengthening our immunity will help each of us fight H1N1. Vitamins, especially vitamin C and E are known to enhance resistance to infectious diseases. Herbal supplements like Lingzhi, Cordyceps and Ginseng have all been trusted for centuries to enhance immunity. In times like this, every person must take responsibility for helping themselves and their family and friends to stop this pandemic from spreading. Stop H1N1 at your own door!