WHO, through its Shipment Fund Project (SFP), will continue supporting shipments from any places where outbreaks occur.

World Courier, WHO's partner in the SFP, is on alert 24hours/7 days week to provide support with those shipments.

Requests for urgent assistance with shipments can be addressed by email directly to Mr Christian Fuster at fusterc@who.int or at GISN@who.int More information on sampling and shipping of influenza clinical specimens and virus isolates is available at http://www.who.int/csr/disease/influenza/FAQInfluenzaLogistics.pdf.

Dangerous Goods Regulations

Guidance to assist shippers with classifying, documenting, marking, labelling and packaging infectious substances: A guide for shipping infectious substances is published at http://www.who.int/ihr/infectious_substances/en/index.html.

Shippers are advised to follow this guidance when shipping infectious substances.

Individual airlines may apply their own policies which can be stricter than applicable international transport regulations.

Shippers should note:

  • Specimens collected directly from humans or animals that are suspected or confirmed to be infected with the swine influenza A(H1N1) virus, including specimens from the respiratory tract (swabs) and blood specimens, should be shipped as "BIOLOGICAL SUBSTANCE, CATEGORY B" and assigned to UN 3373.
  • Swine influenza A(H1N1) virus cultures (i.e. virus isolates ) must be shipped as Category A "INFECTIOUS SUBSTANCE; AFFECTING HUMANS" and assigned to UN 2814.

Shipping Category A substances requires shippers to have completed specific training.

For shipping Category B substances no specific training is required.

If the shipment also includes other dangerous goods (such as liquid nitrogen or dry ice), shippers must be trained appropriately in the transport of those goods.

Additional information can be found in the WHO document Guidance on regulations for the transport of infectious substances, available at http://www.who.int/csr/resources/publications/biosafety/WHO_HSE_EPR_2008_10/en/index.html