The WHO (World Health Organization) says the risk for a Bird Flu Pandemic is still very high. The risk of a flu pandemic remains high despite possible public fatigue with the issue, but the WHO is hopeful the bird flu virus will do less damage than in past years during Asia’s upcoming colder months, a WHO official said Sunday.
“The virus seems to be very embedded in the environment and, in our view, the risk of a pandemic continues unabated,” Richard Nesbit, WHO’s acting regional director for the Western Pacific, told reporters.
“Recently, we’ve seen new (bird flu) outbreaks in poultry in Cambodia and also in Thailand,
The bird flu virus is expected to be one of the top items discussed for the third straight year at the annual WHO regional meeting, which helps set the organization’s strategic agenda. The H5N1 virus (bird flu) has killed at least 144 people since it began ravaging Asian poultry stocks in late 2003, and experts worry more bird flu fatalities will emerge as the cooler months approach.
“The bird flu virus is still very hard for humans to catch and has yet to be commonly transferred human to human” bird flu expert J. Rinard says. “The bird flu is expected to begin spreading quick once again as cold weather sets in, the hope is that the public and media does not grow weary of the bird flu alarm. The bird flu virus is still very much a threat at this time.”
The WHO meeting in New Zealand, is being attended by 37 countries and territories, will also address a number of other major health issues affecting the region, including heart disease, diabetes, AIDS and tuberculosis. Smoking and alcohol controls will also be discussed.