Statement of European Commission and Czech Presidency on WHO pandemic alert

Today the WHO raised the pandemic alert for Influenza AH1N1 from phase 5 to phase 6. This reflects the application of the agreed WHO definition of phase 6. It only covers the epidemiological distribution and pattern of spread but not the severity of clinical symptoms. To date, the influenza AH1N1 virus has presented mild to moderate symptoms and a low mortality rate. In reaction to the current developments, EU Health Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou and the Czech Minister of Health Dana Jurásková agreed on joint coordination following the formal declaration of phase 6 by WHO, which means that the National Pandemic Influenza Preparedness and Response Plans will be activated accordingly. The Commission and the Czech Presidency of the EU agreed during the Extraordinary Health Ministers Meeting (30 April 2009) on priority actions to respond to this threat. During the Health Council of 9 June in Luxembourg, the Commission and the Member States committed to discuss, using the Health Security Committee, a concerted response and a common approach on this threat. The Czech Presidency and the Commission will continue to play an active role in planning, coordinating and facilitating measures to contain and mitigate the effects of influenza A (H1N1). The Commission works closely with the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), the European Medicine Agency (EMEA) and is in regular contact with the World Health Organisation and our international partners in the Global Health Security Action Group in United States, Mexico, Canada and Japan (GHSAG). We will continue to follow closely the development of the situation and act accordingly.

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