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WHO says H1N1 flu pandemic continues

The H1N1 pandemic is not yet over although its most intense activity has passed in many parts of the world, the World Health Organization said on Thursday after a review of the flu outbreak by independent experts.

The WHO emergency committee, composed of 15 external advisers, said it remained critical for countries to maintain vigilance concerning the pandemic, including necessary public health measures for disease control and surveillance, WHO Director-General Margaret Chan said in a statement.

"We're still in the pandemic," WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl told Reuters.

Chan said that pandemic flu activity was expected to continue, and the committee would meet again by mid-July to review the status of the outbreak once more data from the winter influenza season in the southern hemisphere was available.

The panel met on Tuesday, but Chan had delayed the announcement until Thursday as the committee, whose members were spread around the world for the meeting by teleconference, put the final touches to the wording of their recommendation.

Chan's decision, based on the committee's recommendation, means that the outbreak, widely known as swine flu, remains at phase 6 on the WHO's pandemic scale, which has been at the top level of 6 since June 2009.
 
 

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