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Thursday 20 October 2016
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WHO: swine flu may be pandemic

The head of the World Health Organisation (WHO) is consulting governments about whether to declare a swine flu pandemic as 42 new cases were confirmed in England.

The new cases include 19 people in the West Midlands, 14 in the North East, six in London, two in the South East and one in the East Midlands, according to the Health Protection Agency (HPA).

The UK total has reached 750 as 47 new cases were confirmed in Scotland and one in Northern Ireland, while the HPA says that another 607 cases are being investigated.

WHO director-general Margaret Chan said she would consult world leaders about changing the international alert status as she believed the disease may have reached pandemic level.

She said: "Once I get indisputable evidence, I will make the announcement."

A spokeswoman for the Department of Health said she had no information about a consultation with WHO.

But she said: "The localised cases of swine flu found in the UK have so far been generally mild in most people, but are proving to be severe in a small minority of cases. We have not yet seen evidence of sustained community transmission.

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World Health Organization