Denmark Confirms One Influenza A Case
WHO/Europe was informed of one new case of influenza A(H1N1) in Denmark. The individual in Denmark has recently returned from travel in the United States of America. An additional laboratory-confirmed case of the virus was also reported in Germany today.
As of 15:00 Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) on 1 May 2009, National Focal Points had reported a total of 31 laboratory-confirmed cases of influenza A(H1N1) to WHO/Europe. Eight countries in the WHO European Region have confirmed cases of influenza A(H1N1): Austria (1), Denmark (1), Germany (4), Israel (2), the Netherlands (1), Spain (13), Switzerland (1) and the United Kingdom (8). Confirmed cases in the WHO European Region have typically presented with mild illness. One case of person-to-person transmission has been reported in Spain, and one case has been reported in a health care setting in Germany.
WHO is collecting and analysing detailed information on the laboratory-confirmed cases of the virus, in order to develop understanding and contribute to the epidemiology of influenza A(H1N1).
No rationale for travel restrictions
WHO is not recommending travel restrictions related to the outbreak of the influenza A(H1N1) virus. Limiting travel and imposing travel restrictions would have very little effect on stopping the virus from spreading but would be highly disruptive to the global community. The focus now is on minimizing the impact of the virus by rapidly identifying cases and providing patients with appropriate medical care, rather than on stopping its spread internationally. Further, although identifying the signs and symptoms of influenza in travellers can be an effective monitoring technique, it is not effective in reducing the spread of influenza, as the virus can be transmitted from person to person before the onset of symptoms.
General preventive measures for influenza
* Avoid close contact with people who appear unwell and have fever and cough.
* Wash your hands with soap and water thoroughly and often.
* Practice good health habits including getting adequate sleep, eating nutritious food and keeping physically active.
Technical guidance for health care workers
WHO has recently released guidance on:
* the use of masks in the community setting in influenza A(H1N1) outbreaks;
* considerations of influenza A(H1N1) and HIV infection; and
* infection prevention and control in health care in providing care for confirmed or suspected A(H1N1) swine influenza patients.