G7 Seeks Coordinated Response to Swine Flu Pandemic

by VR Sreeraman on Sep 12 2009 6:02 PM

Health ministers from the Group of Seven most industrialised nations and Mexico met Friday to set out a battle plan against the swine flu pandemic, which threatens to worsen.

"We will share and develop common approaches towards mitigating the public health and socio-economic impact of the pandemic," said EU Health Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou, hosting the Brussels talks.

"Since the start of the A (H1N1) outbreak, the European Commission has stressed the crucial importance of exchanging information and coordinating measures at international level," the EU commissioner added.

The participants were also to look at ways to help developing countries deal with the pandemic which has killed at least 2,837 people around the world since it emerged in Mexico in April with over 250,000 cases diagnosed, according to the latest WHO figures.

Those figures are short of the real spread of the pandemic as many countries have stopped automatic medical analysis of people with flu symptoms.

Most of the deaths have been on the American continent.

Taking part in the Brussels meeting were health ministers from the G7 nations, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and United States, as well as Mauritius Hernandez, Mexico's undersecretary of health and top World Health Organisation official Keiji Fukuda.

On September 16, Vassiliou is set to unveil an action plan against the virus, to be discussed by EU health ministers at extraordinary talks next month.

The talks took place as trials are held on vaccines for the A(H1N1) virus undergo clinical trials ahead of their release.