The swine flu virus may see a possible upsurge during the upcoming winter season in the South East Asian region, including India, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said on Wednesday, asking nations to continue updating combat measures.

“WHO continues to closely monitor the geographical spread of the pandemic and member states will need to continue updating their plans accordingly,” the UN body’s regional director Samlee Plianbangchang said here.

WHO also warned of a “possible upsurge of the pandemic during the winter season in the region” and said the organisation was closely monitoring the virus for genetic mutation and drug resistance.

Though the A(H1N1) virus has spread faster than any other flu in the past, prompt use of public health measures combined with a sound strategy for case management can control and mitigate the impact on human health and economy, the WHO South-East Asia Regional Meeting has said on Wednesday.

The regional meet that started on Sept 7 will conclude on Sept 10.

WHO said in a statement that the importance of public health measures such as frequent hand washing, respiratory hygiene, cough etiquette and social distancing measures such as voluntary isolation for slowing down the surge, need to be emphasised to the public.

“The United Nations health agency has been actively assisting in vaccine production capacity in the region, and three companies have been authorised to produce vaccine to make available 220 million doses per annum,” the statement said.

Meanwhile, WHO experts said that South East Asia was close to achieving the targeted 90 per cent reduction in measles mortality by 2010, and only India with its huge population was yet to meet the target.

“Except India, all ten of the 11 countries in the region have met the target. India, having a huge population, will be able to meet the target by 2010. Sri Lanka, Maldives, Bhutan and Thailand have made tremendous progress in the measles control programme, Arun Thapa, WHO’s Immunisation Programme Conductor of the region, said.