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February 11th, 2010
04:23 PM ET

H1N1 is not gone – yet

By Miriam Falco
CNN Medical Managing Editor

The World Health Organization announced Thursday that although the number of H1N1 flu cases around the world is declining, the virus has not disappeared yet.

Dr Keiji Fukuda, the special adviser to the WHO's director-general on pandemic influenza, said the number of cases overall is declining, but some regions are still dealing with this flu, noting that the highest levels of activity are in Northern Africa, Eastern Europe and Eastern Asia. He also said the virus has made its way to Western Africa, specifically Senegal, which is reporting 14 cases.

"The virus has not disappeared and is continuing to cause disease and deaths in many parts of the world," Fukuda said. He pointed out that there have been more than 15,000 laboratory-confirmed deaths worldwide so far and that the true toll of this disease won’t be known for another year or two.

So the WHO will not say the pandemic is over, but at the end of this month a committee of scientists will meet to determine whether we've entered into a transitional period, which indicates that the end of this specific flu outbreak is near.

It's interesting to note that while some countries are talking about having too much H1N1 vaccine, 95 countries are still interested in getting the vaccine, according to the WHO.


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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.