Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Bird Flu

Holy shit:
Up to 100-million people could die in weeks if a bird flu pandemic broke out, a senior World Health Organisation (WHO) official has warned while urging countries to make urgent preparations to mitigate its spread.

A global outbreak was almost certain and vaccination programmes would not be enough to halt its advance, Shigeru Omi, WHO's director for the Western Pacific, has said here.

"The most conservative estimate is that seven to 10 million people would die, but the maximum range would be 50 million or, in the worst case, even 100 million people," Omi said in his starkest warning yet of the potential peril presented by a mutation of avian flu to a form that could be transmitted by humans.

"It will come," he said, during a flying visit here, where the H5N1 flu strain first mutated into a strain lethal to humans.

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