Swine Flu Pandemic Eases But Hasn't Disappeared : Shots - Health News The head of the World Health Organization said it is premature to declare victory over the swine flu virus. The pandemic will continue to evolve for six months to a year.
NPR logo Swine Flu Pandemic Eases But Hasn't Disappeared

Swine Flu Pandemic Eases But Hasn't Disappeared

Even as cases of swine flu are on the wane, the World Health Organization says it's too soon to say humans have won the fight over the virus.

WHO's Dr. Margaret Chan Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images

"I think we must remain prudent and observe the evolution of the pandemic in the course of the next six to 12 months before crying victory," Dr. Margaret Chan, head of WHO, said in an interview with a Swiss newspaper. Reuters has the highlights in English here.

The WHO says cases are dropping in the Northern Hemisphere, but that some areas of the world, including parts of South Asia plus Central and Eastern Europe, have seen an uptick of flu activity recently. The new H1N1 virus has been confirmed in 11,516 deaths around the world, WHO reports.

Just before Christmas, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported flu cases in the U.S. dropped for the eight consecutive week.

But as the flu virus recedes, the fight to get you vaccinated is heating up. The Wall Street Journal reports drugstores are competing to have you come on down for your shot. "Right now there's probably more supply than demand," Dr. Troyen Brennan, chief medical officer for CVS Caremark, tells the Journal.

Drugstores and supermarkets aren't talking much about how much money, if any, they're making on the vaccinations. The bigger prize may be an increase in sales of other flu-related stuff. Think hand sanitizer.