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The World in Medicine
June 15, 2005

Curbing Global Disease Spread

JAMA. 2005;293(23):2850. doi:10.1001/jama.293.23.2850-a

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.

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