Ah1n1 Outbreak Resurfaces in Venezuela

Mar 23, 2011, 08:40 by John Steele

A new outbreak of H1N1 virus, known more commonly as the Swine Flu, has hit the Venezuelan Andean state of Merida, the country's health minister Eugenia Sader reported today.

There have been over 100 recorded cases as of yesterday, yet the health ministry has not yet declared an outbreak as 56 cases have been identified in Merida alone, Sader said. 

State-sponsored news agency AVN reported that classes in Merida have been canceled for five days, and a ban has been placed on events at night clubs and other closed-in venues.

The outbreak in Venezuela comes in the wake of a World Health Organization-commissioned report investigating the WHO's management of the 2009 Swine Flu pandemic.

The report, which came out on March 10th, described WHO's definition of a pandemic and its phases as "needlessly complex," criticized the agency's decision to keep the members of its advisory committee secret, and said potential conflicts of interest among those experts, some of whom had ties to drug companies, were not well managed. 

It warned that under WHO's health oversight, the world is not ready to handle a major health disaster in the future.

The Venezuelan outbreak remains a small, isolated case, and other hotbeds like Hong Kong who, in the past experienced outbreaks of the disease, remain stable.

Source: CNN