WHO suggests revising swine flu containment measures

Officials with the World Health Organization have announced that swine flu containment measures failed to work as planned and will likely need to be revised before future pandemics occur.

Dr. Sylvie Briand, head of the WHO’s global influenza program, made the announcement while speaking earlier this week in London during a Health Protection Agency conference on the international response to the H1N1 pandemic, according to

During the conference, Briand questioned whether it was actually possible to contain a virus at the source and said that containment guidelines may have to be completely overhauled.

Briand explained that the WHO's current pandemic preparedness guidelines were based on the emergence of a pandemic virus in isolated rural areas where containment would be practical. These containment measures failed, Briand said, because the H1N1 pandemic began in heavily populated urban areas.

“The WHO needs to look at the conditions under which containment can be achieved,” Briand told conference attendees, reports. “If it is not feasible then at least we must slow transmission.”

Briand said that a draft consultation is due in the autumn. In the meantime, she said, health officials will continue to monitor international response to last season’s pandemic. She estimated it will take two years before new preparedness plans are released.