Strengthening health security by implementing the International Health Regulations (2005)

IHR News

The WHO quarterly bulletin on IHR implementation

What’s new in risk and disease control

Pandemic H1N1 2009: Ninth meeting of the Emergency Committee 10 August 2010

Following extensive scientific review of the evidence, during the ninth meeting of the IHR Emergency Committee for pandemic (H1N1) 2009, which took place by teleconference, the IHR Emergency Committee agreed that the global influenza situation no longer represented an extraordinary event requiring immediate emergency actions on an international scale. In their view, the public health emergency of international concern, recommended following the emergence of the H1N1 (2009) virus, should be considered over. The IHR Emergency Committee further noted that the temporary recommendations adopted in response to the public health emergency of international concern were terminated. After extensive discussions, the IHR Emergency Committee unanimously advised the Director-General that the world was no longer experiencing an influenza pandemic, but that some countries continue to experience significant H1N1 (2009) epidemics. Members and the Advisor agreed that waiting for winter data from the southern hemisphere had been necessary in order to make such a global assessment.

Foodborne disease outbreaks: Guidelines for investigation and control

The investigation and control of foodborne disease outbreaks are multi-disciplinary tasks requiring skills in the areas of clinical medicine, epidemiology, laboratory medicine, food microbiology and chemistry, food safety and food control, and risk communication and management. Many outbreaks of foodborne disease are poorly investigated, if at all, because these skills are unavailable or because a field investigator is expected to master them all single-handedly without having been trained. These guidelines have been written for public health practitioners, food and health inspectors, district and national medical officers, laboratory personnel and others who may undertake or participate in the investigation and control of foodborne disease outbreaks.

Polio in north-eastern Afghanistan

On 2 September a new polio case was detected in the Imam Sahib district of the north-eastern Afghan province of Kunduz bordering Tajikistan, a region that has been polio-free for nearly a decade. The case was quickly identified thanks to the well-functioning Acute Flaccid Paralysis (AFP) surveillance system. While the initial assumption was that source of the virus might have been neighbouring Tajikistan, which is currently experiencing a large polio outbreak, it was later estimated that it might have been the result of cross-border population movement from neighbouring Pakistan. To prevent further circulation and spread of the virus, the Ministry of Public Health launched a rapid response plan and from 5-7 September, 1.5 million children under five years of age were vaccinated in 5 adjacent provinces, namely Badakahshan, Takhar, Kunduz, Baghlan and Balkh. To guarantee that no child is left unvaccinated, a four-pronged approach was carried out, including house-to-house visits; setting up mobile clinics; establishing fixed teams in hospitals and setting up immunization posts at border crossing points.

New GAR documents

The department of Global Alert and Response has released the following new publications:

Infection control documents - Chinese versions