Bird Flu, Global Killer?
BIRD FLU COULD KILL 150 MILLION GLOBALLY
David Nabarro, who is charged with co-ordinating responses to bird flu, said a mutation of the virus affecting Asia could trigger new outbreaks.
“The consequences in terms of human life when the pandemic does start are going to be extraordinary and very damaging,” Dr Nabarro told the BBC.
Bird flu has swept through poultry and wild birds in Asia since 2003.
It has killed huge numbers of birds and lead to more than 60 human deaths.
“It’s like a combination of global warming and HIV/Aids 10 times faster than it’s running at the moment,” Dr Nabarro told the BBC.
The UN’s new co-ordinator for avian and human influenza said the likelihood that the Asian virus could mutate and jump to humans was high.
Because it has moved to wild migratory birds there is a possibility “that the first outbreak could happen even in Africa or in the Middle East”, he warned.
The comments came as agriculture ministers from the Association of South East Asian Nations (Asean) endorsed a three-year plan to combat the spread of the virus, and pledged $2m to fund research and training.
Bird Flu Panic in Southeast Asia