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March 14, 2005

Bird Flu Clusters May Signal Virus Change - WHO

Topics: Health Issues

According to the World Health Organization, a cluster of human bird flu cases among relatives and possibly health workers in Vietnam may indicate that the virus is changing into a form that can be passed on by humans. The WHO fears that avian influenza(bird flu), which has killed 47 people in Asia, could mutate into an easily spread form that results in an influenza pandemic that could kill millions world-wide.

"Such cases can provide the first signal that the virus is altering its behavior in human populations and thus alert authorities to the need to intervene quickly," the WHO said in a statement seen on Monday.

The main concern of the WHO was a series of cases of the deadly H5N1 bird flu virus in a family in the northern Vietnam province of Thai Binh and the possible infection of two nurses who cared for one of the patients.

It also said it had received confirmation of an additional 10 cases of human infections from Vietnam's Health Ministry.

Related: For further information on avian influenza check out previous Hyscience posts here, here, here, and here.

 

Posted by Hyscience at March 14, 2005 4:59 PM



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