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February 24, 2005

World bird-flu risk is 'gravest possible'

Topics: Terri Schiavo's Life Counts

Expert urges action in 'radical new ways'

 The risk that Asia's outbreak of avian influenza could turn into a deadly global pandemic has increased sharply in recent months, a top international health official warned on Wednesday.

"The world is now in the gravest possible danger of a pandemic," said the official, Dr. Shigeru Omi, Western Pacific director of the World Health Organization. "We need to consider urgent and decisive action in radical new ways."

Speaking by telephone from the sidelines of an avian flu conference in Vietnam, Omi said that in recent months it had become clear that strains of avian influenza that emerged last year were now entrenched, endemic, versatile and transmitted through animals showing no symptoms of the disease. If mutated to transmit between humans, he said, the deadly strain of influenza could spread quickly around the world and infect millions.

Posted by Hyscience at February 24, 2005 4:34 PM

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