Public Health

When Is A Pandemic Not A Pandemic?

Japanese women with masks
Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP/Getty Images

Many countries are questioning why the WHO has not moved the new swine flu pandemic threat level from an imminent pandemic to an actual one.

The H1N1 situation in Japan now seems to qualify for a WHO move to "Phase 6." That is, there is evidence of ongoing transmission among people in the community, not just among close family members.

But as NPR's Richard Knox reports today:

This isn't a question of semantics or science; it's mainly a question of politics within the WHO.

Plus, a redefinition of pandemic may be in the works. Stay tuned.

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