Experts Say Bird Flu Will Spread Into U.K.

Posted on August 25, 2005

The BBC reports that the British Veterinary Association has warned that Bird Flu will spread into the U.K. Health experts are concerned about bird flu not only for the economic damage caused from sick livestock but from the human loss if bird flu were to acquire the ability to spread human to human. Experts say that could lead to a catastrophic outbreak that could kill tens of millions of people around the globe -- worse than the deadly influenza outbreak of 1918.
It is feared that up to 50 million people around the world could die in a flu outbreak, including more than 50,000 in the UK.

In the UK, every GP in the country has been issued with guidance on how to deal with a possible outbreak.

Professor Hugh Pennington, the scientist who led the investigation into Scotland's e-coli outbreak which killed more than 20 people, said the issue was "very, very serious".

"This is a very nasty virus. It's doing enormous damage in the Far East at the moment. It's got into Russia.

"If it got here, it would be economically disastrous, never mind the human impact."

He also said an outbreak could claim more lives than the 250,000 lost in the UK - and the 40 million worldwide - when an influenza epidemic struck in 1918.
Scientists at the CDC and World Health Organization are also very concerned about bird flu and continue to issue advisories, updates and warnings. The CDC's bird flu page is located here and the WHO page can be found here.

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