on the advice of a WHO emergency committee, Director-general Margaret
Chan "has determined that the current events constitute a public health
emergency of international concern," the UN agency said in a statement.
WHO chief is recommending, on the advice of the committee, that all
countries intensify surveillance for unusual outbreaks ofinfluenza-like
illness and severe pneumonia, the statement added.
more information is needed before a decision could be made concerning
the appropriateness of the current "phase 3" alert level of a pandemic
risk, according to the advice of the committee, which is composed of
international experts in a variety of disciplines.
The WHO's pandemic alert includes altogether six phases. "Phase3" means "no or very limited human-to-human transmission."
emergency committee was established in compliance with the
International Health Regulations (2005). It convened its first meeting
on Saturday to assess the swine flu situation and advise the WHO chief
on appropriate responses.
reviewing available data on the current situation, committee members
identified a number of gaps in knowledge about the clinical features,
epidemiology, and virology of reported cases and the appropriate
responses, the WHO statement said.
The committee also noted that answers to several specific questions were needed to facilitate its work.