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World Health Assembly agrees to immediate voluntary implementation of influenza-related provisions of International Health Regulations (2005)

Delegates at the World Health Assembly agreed on Friday immediately to begin implementing parts of the International Health Regulations (IHR). The provisions of the regulations to be implemented immediately are those which relate directly to avian influenza and to the threat of a human influenza pandemic.

The IHR (2005) were formally adopted at the 58th World Health Assembly in 2005 and are to go into effect in 2007. Their adoption was an important step to strengthen international cooperation in detecting and responding to public health emergencies. Their importance is underlined by this year's decision by WHO's Member States to support early voluntary compliance with those parts that relate to the threat of a human influenza pandemic.

The provisions identified for early voluntary compliance include those relating to rapid and transparent notification, support to countries that request it in investigating and controlling outbreaks, and providing essential information including recommendations for control measures.

WHO has already taken steps to accelerate implementing the IHR (2005) including the establishment of a Pandemic Influenza Task Force. In collaboration with technical partners in the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network, the Global Influenza Surveillance Network, WHO Collaborating Centres and UN Agencies, WHO is coordinating the mobilization of international assistance and resources.

The goal of this effort is to provide immediate technical and operational assistance to affected countries in implementing effective control measures, ensuring international reference laboratory support and providing guidance on control measures, outbreak communications and social mobilization. The IHR (2005) will enter into force in June, 2007.

For more information contact:

Iain Simpson
Communications Officer
Director-General's office
Telephone: +41 79 475 5534
E-mail: simpsoni@who.int

Christine McNab
Communications Officer
Director-General's office
Telephone: +41 79 254 6815
E-mail: mcnabc@who.int

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