Despite media claims that the World Health Organization has blown the swine flu threat out of proportion, safety measures should still be taken, a Russian medical specialist said on Monday.
Danish Daily Information alleges that the WHO, which on June 11 declared swine flu a pandemic, has teamed up with pharmaceutical companies to create a scare and cash in on selling a remedy.
However, Anastasia Rondareva, deputy editor in chief of the Zdorovye (Health) magazine, said the statistics should be thoroughly analyzed before any conclusions can be made as to the severity of the threat.
She said the number of reported swine flu deaths is unreliable as they have not been conclusively distinguished from deaths caused by other kinds of flu, among other causes, due to a lack of modern equipment.
"On the one hand, mortality is high, but on the other, not all hospitals test for the virus, so there are no conclusive statistics," she said.
According to the WHO, as of November 22, "worldwide more than 207 countries and overseas territories or communities have reported laboratory confirmed cases of pandemic influenza H1N1 2009, including over 7,820 deaths."
However, every year, up to 500,000 people die from seasonal flu.
Asked whether the number of swine flu deaths deserves the attention it has been getting, Rondareva said: "As far as health matters are concerned, it is better to err on the side of caution."
However, she acknowledged that "it has turned out that the situation is not as bad" as originally thought.
MOSCOW, November 30 (RIA Novosti)