UK urges more flexibility in criteria for flu pandemic alertsBMJ 2009; 338 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.b2067 (Published 21 May 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;338:b2067
- Adrian O’Dowd
Greater flexibility and additional information are needed when deciding whether to declare a flu pandemic, a delegation of countries have told the World Health Organization.
The United Kingdom proposed at this week’s World Health Assembly in Geneva that a phase 6 alert—the top level—should reflect the severity of a new virus and not just its geographical spread.
Speaking at the assembly the health secretary, Alan Johnson, said that WHO should not just be driven by a purely “mechanistic approach” but should also be able to use emerging knowledge about the severity of the disease and other considerations before taking the decision to move a flu pandemic alert to phase 6.
Mr Johnson told WHO’s general secretary, Margaret Chan: “It is my belief we need to give you and your team more flexibility as to whether we move to phase 6.”