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Monday, November 29, 2004

Bird Flu Pandemic Viewed as Likely


Bird Flu Pandemic Viewed as Likely

Bird Flu Pandemic Viewed as Likely

The geographic spread of the H5N1 virus in poultry, and evidence that it is becoming more versatile, could make its eradication impossible, WHO officials warned. In addition to killing humans, the virus has affected other animals, most recently tigers in a Thailand zoo.

International health officials meeting in Bangkok expressed grave fears Friday that the evolving avian flu virus could result in a pandemic.

A senior World Health Organization (WHO) official said the conditions are ripe for a new pandemic, and that the resiliency of the H5N1 virus makes it a likely candidate for an international outbreak.

"We are closer now to an influenza pandemic than at any time in recent years," said Dr. Shiferu Omi, WHO's Western Pacific regional director.

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