The United States president President Barack Obama has declared the outbreak of swine flu in the US a national emergency.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has warned of a possible shortage of the swine flu vaccine as hospitalisations and deaths from the virus continue to increase.
Last week its officials said swine flu activity was widespread in 46 states. More that 1,000 deaths have been linked to the virus.
The emergency declaration allows authorities to bypass certain federal requirements in order to deal more effectively with emergencies, the BBC reports.
The aim is to increase the ability of treatment facilities to handle a surge in H1N1 patients.
A White House official said the measure was proactive and a response to a new development.