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Last updated: 28 april, 2009 - 11:15 GMT

Swine flu: has the world over-reacted?

The dangers of a worldwide pandemic of swine flu has been recognised formally by the World Health Organisation, which has raised its formal pandemic threat level from 3 to 4.

Commuters wearing face masks look through the window of a bus in Mexico City

People in Mexico are not the only ones around the world wearing face masks

That is just two notches down from the highest alert and it means that the WHO has established that the new strain of the virus, which emerged in Mexico, is spreading from human to human.

More than 150 people have died in Mexico, with almost 1,000 people in hospital with symptoms.

However, there have been no reports of any deaths outside Mexico.

So are governments and media around the world handling the outbreak responsibly?

The BBC's Fergus Nicoll spoke to Dan Gardner, the author of a book called "Risk: The Science and Politics of Fear".

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First broadcast 28 April 2009

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