Proposed new International Health Regulations

BMJ 2005; 330 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.330.7487.321 (Published 10 February 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;330:321
  1. Angus Nicoll, director (angus.nicoll@hpa.org.uk),
  2. Jane Jones, consultant epidemiologist,
  3. Preben Aavitsland, state epidemiologist,
  4. Johan Giesecke, state epidemiologist
  1. Communicable Disease Surveillance Centre, Health Protection Agency Centre for Infections, London NW9 5EQ
  2. Communicable Disease Surveillance Centre, Health Protection Agency Centre for Infections, London NW9 5EQ
  3. Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Division of Infectious Disease Control, Norwegian Institute of Public Health, PO Box 4404, Nydalen, N-0403 Oslo, Norway
  4. Smittskyddsinstitutet (SMI), S-171 82 Solna, Sweden

    Agreement must be reached to protect the global village from pandemic influenza

    Infectious diseases have never respected national boundaries, and ever increasing movement of people and goods means that no country or region, no matter how wealthy, can make itself invulnerable to infections emerging elsewhere.1 2 Equally neither can any country be confident that it will not be the source of a threat to the global community.2 The International Health Regulations are legal instruments designed to provide the maximum security against the international spread of infectious disease with minimal interference with world traffic.3 4 Although the World Health Organization is responsible for the regulations, they are agreed collectively by its member states. Individual states may state a reservation, but great trouble is taken to come up with regulations that almost every country will sign up to. The current regulations (in place since 1969) have been recognised to be inadequate for today's global village and the acid tests that countries may face (box).5 6 WHO has been revising the regulations since 1995. Progress was initially slow, but the relative irrelevance of the regulations during the outbreaks of severe …

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