Experts to review WHO's H1N1 flu response

GENEVA — A group of outside experts will scrutinize the World Health Organization's response to the H1N1flu outbreak and likely examine whether the global body could have been clearer when it declared a pandemic of what has turned out to be a relatively mild disease, the World Health Organization said March 29.

Approximately approximately 30 scientists and public health officials will conduct the review starting later this month, and WHO Director-General Margaret Chan will present their initial findings to member states in May, a senior official told The Associated Press in Geneva.

"The assessment itself is going to address many of the questions which are being raised now," said Keiji Fukuda, WHO's top flu official.

WHO's pandemic alert scale, or "phases," and the role that disease severity plays in the global body's assessment of an outbreak are likely to be among the "critical issues" the group will examine, he said.