Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Bird Flu Probe in Indonesia Intensifies on Human Link

World Health Organization officials intensified their investigation of the spread of bird flu among seven Indonesian family members and may consider raising the alert level for a possible lethal pandemic.

Any evidence of the H5N1 avian influenza strain being passed from human-to-human in a chain of three or more people may prompt the WHO to convene a panel of experts and consider raising the pandemic alert level, Maria Cheng, a spokeswoman for the WHO, said yesterday in Geneva.

``There will be a lot of pressure from some circles’’ to raise the level of alert, Michael Osterholm, director of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, said by telephone from New York. The concern is that ``other cases are being unrecognized.’’

Cases involving sustained human transmission would suggest the virus has undergone genetic changes making it more contagious, according to the WHO. So far, studies of the Sumatran outbreak and genetic analyses of the virus don’t indicate it has undergone major changes, Cheng said.

Avian influenza story source

Posted by john T. on 05/24 at 03:59 AM
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