FLU WATCH

WHO Says Curb Your Panic

The H1N1 flu has spread to 11 countries with 331 infections, and now the World Health Organization is sending out mixed messages about just how dangerous the virus can get. Outside of Mexico, those infected have exhibited relatively mild symptoms, but a spokesman for WHO mentioned today that the Spanish Influenza, which killed 50 million people around the globe, also started out very mild in the spring of 1918, “only to reappear in the autumn of 1918 with a vengeance.” He added, “It would be remiss of us not to take this extremely seriously,” but that “people should act with common sense rather than panic.” Because the genes of the viruses appear similar, a vaccine would be likely to counter the strain, although officials predict it would take four to six months to develop one.