'The spread of H5N1 to Africa is cause for great concern ... overall the African continent remains vulnerable,' WHO director general Dr Lee Jong-wook said, on a visit to Nairobi.This flu have been progressing for years and isn't going away any time soon. Our only hope is that it loses it's lethality by the time it mutates to a form that is easily transmitted among mammals.
'We do not know, for example, what kind of an impact a pandemic virus would have on people who are already immunosuppressed as a result of HIV,' he said. 'The impact of an influenza pandemic on African countries' already overburdened health care systems could be extremely grave.'
Where people live closer to fowl, the risk of infection -- usually through close contact with an infected bird -- is higher.
Most cases of the virus have been in wild birds in Europe and on Thursday testing continued, with Serbia confirming its first case of H5N1 in a swan and Norway saying it was testing two ducks after finding 12 birds dead in the same area.
In further evidence that other animals are able to contract the virus, Germany said it had found H5N1 in a marten -- a weasel-like animal -- just days after finding it in three cats. The WHO said more research was needed to determine what this meant for the risk of human infection.
Thursday, March 09, 2006
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