WHO Says End to Bird Flu Threat Still Years Away

Posted on January 23, 2007

Reuters reports that WHO Director-General Margaret Chan warned that the threat of a H5N1 pandemic has not diminished and will not go away anytime soon.
The world is years away from stamping out bird flu in poultry, and the threat of a human pandemic will remain until it does, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday.

Addressing the U.N. agency's 34-state executive board, WHO Director-General Margaret Chan said that in the past three years the H5N1 bird flu virus had proven virulent.

"As long as the virus continues to circulate in birds, the threat of a pandemic will persist. The world is years away from control in the agricultural sector," she said.
Chan warned health experts and physicians to remain vigilant.
"Influenza viruses are notoriously sloppy, unstable and capricious. It is impossible to predict their behavior," she told the board, which meets twice a year.

"The message is straightforward: we must not let down our guard," she said.
Recently the bird flu has been spreading again in Asia and a women in Egypt has tested positive. WHO's avian influenza resources can be found here.

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