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WHO brings forward emergency swine flu meeting

WHO brings forward emergency swine flu meeting
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First Published: Mon, Apr 27 2009. 05 54 PM IST
Updated: Mon, Apr 27 2009. 05 54 PM IST
Geneva: The World Health Organisation’s emergency committee of experts will meet on Monday at around 1400 GMT to decide whether to raise the level of the UN agency’s pandemic alert, a WHO spokeswoman said on Monday.
The committee had previously been scheduled to meet on Tuesday.
The WHO will hold a teleconference for media later this evening following the meeting with director general Margaret Chan or acting assistant director-general Keiji Fukuda if the committee recommends an increase in the pandemic alert level.
The current phase of pandemic alert is 3 on a scale of 1 to 6. The committee is meeting in the light of confirmed outbreaks of swine flu in Mexico, where it has killed 103 people, the United States and Canada.
Earlier on Monday health authorities in Spain confirmed one case of the disease and said 17 other people were under investigation, indicating swine flu was present on both sides of the Atlantic.
Infections are also suspected in Britain, France and Israel.
“If we go to phase 4 because of the swine flu virus, it basically means that we believe that a potential pandemic virus has potentially shown it can transmit from person to person and cause large outbreaks,” Fukuda said on Sunday.
“This is a pretty big change from phase 3 to phase 4.”
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First Published: Mon, Apr 27 2009. 05 54 PM IST