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Bird flu - an ever-present danger

Outbreaks of the H5N1 strain of avian flu continue (WRENmedia)
Outbreaks of the H5N1 strain of avian flu continue

Several new cases of the virulent H5N1 strain of avian flu have been reported since the last issue of New Agriculturist. In August, Indonesia confirmed the first human fatalities in Bali province, where two women in their 20s died, taking the country's death toll to 85. At the end of July, Egypt confirmed its 38th human case, while Bangladesh and India have both reported outbreaks in chicken populations, with the latter culling around 200,000 birds in Manipur state in the north-east of the country.

WHO has identified human pandemic influenza - from mutated avian flu virus, for example - as a major potential health threat in the 21st century. Its 2007 annual report states that the boom in air travel could enable the virus - and illnesses such as AIDS, ebola and malaria - to spread rapidly. It calls for closer cooperation between countries to tackle new and existing threats to human health.

Date published: September 2007


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