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WHO warns of swine flu 'explosion'

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Governments must boost preparations for a swift response to the global spread of swine flu as it is expected to speed up in the next few months, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said.

WHO’s Western Pacific director Shin Young-soo warned countries to be prepared for an “explosion” of swine flu cases, doubling every three to four days for several months before the virus reaches peak transmission.

International attention is now on the southern hemisphere countries who are currently in the midst of their winter and flu seasons, to see how the pandemic, which killed nearly 1,800 people worldwide last week, will develop.

“We only have a short time period to reach the state of preparedness deemed necessary,” Shin said.

“Communities must be aware before a pandemic strikes as to what they can do to reduce the spread of the virus, and how to obtain early treatment of severe cases.”

Mr Shin believes that developing countries which do not have the funds or the equipment to deal with the virus will be the hardest hit by swine flu. He urged world leaders to educate the public and prepare health systems for severe cases to avoid unnecessary deaths.

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