Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Bird-human-human. That's bad.

Feral Scholar: Bird Flu - Possible Catastrophe:
"Fifty-four human deaths don’t sound many. In fact, bird flu has so far proved very poor at spreading to humans. Almost all of those who died had been in close daily contact with infected chickens and ducks.

But that may change. Viruses constantly mutate. Already H5N1 has mutated into a form that can pass from bird to human. Next it may mutate again into a form that can pass from human to human.

If it does, the scenario is terrifying. A new and deadly flu epidemic would break out. It would spread around the world in a matter of weeks. No-one would have any natural resistance to the virus.

Tens, perhaps hundreds of millions would be hospitalised. Anywhere between two and fifty million people could die.

The world is overdue for a new “flu pandemic”. Many scientists now say it is not a matter of if, but when. No one has died in China from this latest outbreak. But that is no reason to feel reassured."

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