WHO convenes emergency meeting on swine flu outbreak

GENEVA — The World Health Organization said on Friday that it was convening an emergency committee to advise whether outbreaks of swine flu in the United States and Mexico constituted an international public health threat.

“WHO will convene, sometime in the very near future, an emergency committee under the International Health Regulations, which will consider whether or not this event constitutes a public health event of international concern,” WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl told Reuters in Geneva.

Hartl also said that 12 of 18 samples taken from victims in Mexico showed the virus had a genetic structure identical to that of the virus found in California. But more epidemiological information was needed before any change to the WHO’s pandemic alert level, currently at ’3’ on a scale of 1 to 6.

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