The World Health Organization raised its pandemic alert for swine flu to the second highest level Wednesday, meaning that it believes a global outbreak of the disease is imminent.
WHO Director General Margaret Chan declared the phase 5 alert after consulting with flu experts from around the world. The decision could lead the global body to recommend additional measures to combat the outbreak, including for vaccine manufacturers to switch production from seasonal flu vaccines to a pandemic vaccine.
“All countries should immediately now activate their pandemic preparedness plans,” Chan told reporters in Geneva. “It really is all of humanity that is under threat in a pandemic.”