Insights · April 29th, 2009

An hour or two ago the World Health Organization raised the pandemic alert level for the Swine Flu from level 4 to level 5 (out of 6), meaning the WHO now believes a pandemic is imminent and that nations should now implement their pandemic preparedness plans.

Let’s clarify what a pandemic is – technically the term simply means that a new infectuous disease has appeared that has spread more quickly than normal across a wide geographic region. It is not necessary that large numbers of people be killed by the disease to be considered a pandemic, only that the infection be widespread. By this definition the Swine Flu is likely to become, or already is, a pandemic, though its impacts may be contained and it may not be unusually deadly. Keep in mind that the normal, seasonal flu kills about 36,000 in the U.S. alone, each year, according the the Centers for Disease Control, and no pandemic warnings are issued about the normal flu.

Once again we are witnessing the value of the global communications network and its ability to keep the world informed during health emergencies as well as the ability to use this communication network to mobilize the government and scientific communities.

Glen Hiemstra is a futurist speaker, consultant, blogger, internet video host and founder of To arrange for a speech contact

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Nikolas Badminton – Chief Futurist

Nikolas Badminton

Nikolas is the Chief Futurist of the Futurist Think Tank. He is world-renowned futurist speaker, a Fellow of The RSA, and has worked with over 300 of the world’s most impactful companies to establish strategic foresight capabilities, identify trends shaping our world, help anticipate unforeseen risks, and design equitable futures for all. In his new book – ‘Facing Our Futures’ – he challenges short-term thinking and provides executives and organizations with the foundations for futures design and the tools to ignite curiosity, create a framework for futures exploration, and shift their mindset from what is to WHAT IF…

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