New rules intended to help prevent the spread of deadly infectious diseases
such as avian influenza or SARS were approved by 192 member states of the
World Health Organization (WHO) last month. The revised regulations, which
take effect in 2 years, govern the roles of countries and the WHO in identifying
and responding to public health emergencies.
Under the new regulations, which will empower the WHO to restrict international
travel and commerce to and from affected regions, member nations are required
to improve routine preventive measures as well as their ability to detect
and respond to public health emergencies that have international implications.
The rules also include a list of diseases that must be reported to the WHO
and guidelines to help countries decide whether other incidents are public
health events of global concern.
Stephenson J. Curbing Global Disease Spread. JAMA. 2005;293(23):2850. doi:10.1001/jama.293.23.2850-a