The World Health Organisation said Tuesday it would ask countries with large caseloads of swine flu to move away from laboratory testing of individual cases towards collecting more macro-trends of the disease.
"In the next few days, the WHO will be issuing updated surveillance recommendations to countries," said Keiji Fukuda, interim assistant director-general of the WHO.
With some 137 countries and territories having reported over 98,000 cases including over 440 deaths, Fukuda said "we are now at a place in which changing the surveillance approach makes a lot of sense for many countries".
In countries where many cases have been reported, it is now necessary to move towards looking for "larger national indicators of the disease" including following influenza-like illnesses or pneumonia cases.
"Because the number of cases have increased in so many countries it is very hard to keep up and so we need to move towards these kinds of indicators to keep following on with the trend of the pandemic," said Fukuda, noting that a shift would also ease pressure on laboratories.
In countries where cases have yet to be reported, Fukuda said the WHO would still recommend that individual suspect cases be tested.
He added that all countries would also be asked to test cases that appear to be unusual, in order for changes in epidemiology of the virus, which has been renamed pandemic (H1N1) 2009 by the WHO, to be recorded.