TORONTO - The World Health Organization is working on a way to grade the severity of a pandemic threat.

Dr. Keiji Fukuda, the agency's flu chief, says the experts who helped the WHO devise its pandemic alert scale are also working on a way to communicate possible severity.

The WHO has faced criticism from some quarters that its pandemic alert scale has no mechanism to reflect the fact that a flu pandemic might cause mild, moderate or severe illness and trigger varying degrees of societal disruption.

The WHO says having a way to gauge possible severity would help countries decide on which response measures to adopt.

Fukuda says he expects the new severity gauge will be ready for use soon.

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