Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

WHO chief outlines conditions for swine flu pandemic

  • Comment

A swine flu pandemic will be officially declared when the disease begins to spread rapidly outside of North America, the chief of the World Health Organisation has said.

The WHO has already put the world on pandemic alert level five and will officially declare a pandemic if it raises the level to six, the highest possible.

This means that a large scale outbreak in the UK, Spain or any other country outside of North America will see the outbreak of H1N1 influenza A turn into a pandemic.

Speaking earlier this week, Dr Margaret Chan, director general of the World Health Organisation, said: ‘The world is in phase 5 now. This means that we need to maintain a high level of vigilance and monitor further international spread of the virus, and further spread in countries that are already reporting cases.

‘We do not know how long we have until we move to phase 6, which indicates we are in a pandemic. We are not there yet. The criteria will be met when we see, in one region outside North America, clear evidence of community-level transmission.’

Swine flu has now spread to 22 countries, with 1,516 confirmed cases and 30 deaths, but large scale outbreaks remain confined to Mexico and North America.

  • Comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.