GENEVA (AP) - The World Health Organization has raised its pandemic alert for swine flu to the second highest level, meaning that it believes a global outbreak of the disease is imminent.
WHO says the phase 5 alert means there is sustained human to human spread in at least two countries.
It also signals that efforts to produce a vaccine will be ramped up.
WHO has confirmed human cases of swine flu in Mexico, the United States, Canada, Britain, Israel, New Zealand and Spain.
Mexico and the U.S. have reported deaths.
WHO Director-General Margaret Chan made the decision Wednesday to raise the alert level from phase 4 - signifying transmission in only one country - after reviewing the latest scientific evidence on the outbreak.