Geneva: The World Health Organisation has not currently scheduled any meetings of its emergency committee, which advises on pandemic alert levels, spokesman Thomas Abraham said on Friday.
The emergency committee can recommend to WHO director-general Margaret Chan whether to change the WHO’s pandemic alert level, which was raised on Wednesday to phase 5 on a 6-point scale, indicating a flu pandemic is imminent.
WHO also said in a statement that the new flu strain, which it calls Influenza A (H1N1), had been confirmed to have infected 331 people in 11 countries, including 10 deaths.
Its official tally, based on highly specific laboratory tests, includes one case of a person in Spain who had been in contact with a traveller returning from Mexico -- indicating human-to-human spread in Spain.
Pressed specifically about its spread in Spain, Abraham later told reporters: “We have no evidence of sustained, community-based transmission in Europe. This is not sustained, community-based human-to-human transmission.
“We need to be sure it is actually established in communities, not just stray cases of a traveller passing it on to one person or two people.”
The WHO was in close contact with potential vaccine companies about developing a vaccine against the disease, which the agency has said could take up to six months, Abraham said.
It was also speaking with Swiss drugmaker Roche Holding AG, which makes Tamiflu, an antiviral that has proven effective against the virus, about making it available to developing countries deemed in need of supplies, he said.