WHO says country measures on swine flu can vary

AP News
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Posted: Nov 11, 2009 5:35 PM

Countries can choose from stronger measures like school closures that may slow the spread of swine flu in the beginning, but the disease will continue to spread anyway, a World Health Organization spokesman said Wednesday.

Spokesman Gregory Hartl noted that the disease is already very widespread, with about 200 countries and territories already having cases of the H1N1 virus.

Hartl refused to compare the approaches different countries have taken, including school closures and quarantines when there is sign that someone in a group such as airplane passengers may have symptoms.

"There are a variety of measures a country could take," he said. "Countries are free to take the measures they think will work."

Hartl said there was "a public health logic" in slowing down the spread of the virus where it is felt that the public health system will be overwhelmed.

But he stressed that the steps should be justified on public health grounds and respect human rights.

"There are a number of measures that could be taken early in the course of the pandemic that will probably slow it down, but will not at the end of the day stop the spread of the virus," he told The Associated Press.