Concerted response to the outbreak of the new flu
With the novel influenza virus spreading rapidly and raising concerns around the world, EU health ministers held an extraordinary meeting in Luxembourg on 30 April to coordinate action against this virus strain.
New diseases like the one caused by the human influenza virus A/H1N1 pose a potential global threat, all the more so due to the ever increasing volume of international travel. As for Europe, which is by no means safe from the virus, national measures can be made more efficient and complemented by coordination at European and global level.
The ministers invited member states to take all precautionary measures needed to protect public health. They also stressed the importance of cooperation in the field of diagnosis and treatment, as well as of providing citizens with accurate and timely information on the latest developments. Information on the evolution of the new virus should be shared through existing European and international channels. Last but not least, cooperation between member states and with the pharmaceutical industry is vital in order to develop a pilot vaccine specific to this particular strain of virus as soon as possible.
Any action should take into account the advice of expert organisations such as the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the World Health Organisation (WHO). The EU will follow the situation closely and intervene in case of a pandemic which is possible but still uncertain.
The virus is a combination of elements of animal and human origin and transmits from human to human. According to current scientific evidence the virus cannot be transmitted by eating pork, if it has been properly cooked.
Council Conclusions (pdf)
Council webcast of press conference
European Commission website - Public Health