We would like to inform you of a significant development the afternoon of 27 April. The World Health Organization (WHO) has raised the global influenza pandemic alert level from the current Phase 3 to Phase 4.
Phase 4 is characterized by verified human-to-human transmission of an animal or human-animal influenza reassortant virus able to cause "community-level outbreaks". The ability to cause sustained disease outbreaks in a community marks a significant upwards shift in the risk for a pandemic. Phase 4 indicates a significant increase in risk of a pandemic, but it does not necessarily mean that a pandemic is a foregone conclusion.
WHO recommends that international travel not be restricted. However, you should delay international travel if ill, and those who develop flu-like symptoms (e.g. fever, sore throat, cough, stuffy nose, chills, headaches, body aches, fatigue, diarrhea, vomiting) following international travel should seek medical attention immediately.
It is reminded that one of the most effective ways to reduce the risk of infection is to practice effective personal hygiene and to avoid close contact with sick people. If you do get sick with flu-like symptoms, you should stay home from work, limit contact with others to keep from infecting them, and contact your private physician.
You should also review the following websites for the latest news:
· http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/html/home/home.shtml (NYCDHMH)