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Swine flu not going anywhere

World Health Organisation Director General Dr Margaret Chan today warned that swine flu still posed a risk in Southeast Asia despite its having been downgraded from pandemic status.

Speaking at a conference in Bangkok yesterday, Chan said the virus, known formally as A(H1N1) influenza, would circulate globally “for some years to come”.

“In the current post-pandemic period, we expect to see localised outbreaks of different magnitude, and some continuing ‘hot spots’ will continue to show high levels of H1N1 transmission,” she said.

“We expect the H1N1 virus to take on the behaviour of a seasonal influenza virus and continue to circulate for years to come.”

Nima Asgari, a Phnom Penh-based public health specialist for the WHO, said the decision to downgrade the virus was based on global trends, and that the process of the virus becoming a seasonal flu would be standard.

“In Cambodia during the wet season, every year there is an increase in general flu cases,” he said.

“The H1N1 swine flu subtype is becoming the dominant flu virus in Cambodia, but that’s normal.”… read the full story in tomorrow’s Phnom Penh Post or see the updated story online from 3PM UTC/GMT +7 hours.

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