International governments have been warned they should be prepared for a swine flu pandemic.
The warning came from the World Health Organisation (WHO) following the disease’s spread from Mexico and the US.
Two confirmed cases of the potentially fatal illness have been detected in the UK – brought back by a Scottish honeymoon couple after their holiday to Mexico.
Dr Margaret Chan, the WHO director general, has decided to raise the influenza alert from phase three to four and said that considering the scale of the outbreak, containment is not possible.
Seven countries have now reported cases of the infection – the US has reported 64 cases, Mexico (26), Canada (6), New Zealand (3), the United Kingdom (2), Israel (2) and Spain (2).
According to WHO advice: "It is considered prudent for people who are ill to delay international travel and for people developing symptoms following international travel to seek medical attention, in line with guidance from national authorities."
International health insurance could be suitable for people travelling abroad, especially for those moving abroad to a new life as an expatriate.