WHO sets emergency meeting on swine flu outbreak

GENEVA, April 25 Sat Apr 25, 2009 7:18am EDT

GENEVA, April 25 (Reuters) - The World Health Organisation said on Saturday it will hold an emergency meeting at 1400 GMT to discuss a deadly swine flu strain outbreak in Mexico and the United States.

WHO Director-General Margaret Chan called the "virtual meeting" that will link public health authorities and experts in various parts of the world "to seek their advice and guidance," WHO spokesman Fadela Chaib told Reuters.

Chan will also brief journalists about the outbreak -- which has killed up to 68 people in Mexico and infected 8 in the United States -- on a teleconference before the virtual meeting starts, at 1300 GMT.

The experts will not necessarily issue firm recommendations on Saturday. Once more details are clear about the virus and its risks, the emergency panel could recommend a change in the WHO's pandemic alert level -- currently at 3 on a scale of 1 to 6 -- or recommend travel advisories to control the flu's spread. (Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; Writing by Laura MacInnis)

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