The World Health Organization has declared the swine flu outbreak in North America a "public health emergency of international concern." The decision means countries around the world will be asked to step up reporting and surveillance of the disease implicated in dozens of human deaths in Mexico and at least eight nonfatal cases in the U.S.
PDF: NYC Health Dept. swine flu presser - (04/25/09) STORY: Latest on swine flu in the U.S. State Dept. of Health sets up a hotline PDF: NYC Health Dept. alert Questions, answers about swine flu ON THE NET: CDC Information
WHO fears the outbreak could spread to other countries and is calling for a coordinated response to contain it.
WHO Director-General Margaret Chan made the decision late Saturday after consulting influenza experts during an emergency meeting.
She earlier told reporters the outbreak had "pandemic potential."
But her agency held off raising its pandemic alert level, citing the need for more information.
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