WHO assurance on bird flu scare

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has dispelled fears of bird flu being transmitted by humans in Vietnam.

    The bird flu virus has spread panic in 10 Asian countries

    After investigating the deaths of two sisters whose brother was also killed by the virus, the WHO said the two women had not contracted the virus from him.

    Their deaths had been treated as the first possible case of human-to-human transmission of the disease.

    But WHO in a statement said the test results on the second woman were reassuring and reflected the findings of tests carried out on the first sister last week.

    "Virus genetic material from this woman, as for the other case in this cluster, is of avian origin and contains no human influenza genes," the statement said.

    EU meeting

    But despite the WHO assurance, European Union health ministers met in Brussels to take stock of the epidemic raging through much of Asia and considered measures if the virus mutated into human flu.

    Earlier this month, WHO said human-to-human transmission was a "possible explanation" in the case of the Vietnamese women.

    The WHO representative in Hanoi, Pascale Brudon said the test results did not exclude a very limited human-to-human transmission of the virus.

    However she said "if any transmission took place, it did not spread outside this small cluster of cases, so it is of less concern."

    The UN health agency has warned that the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu could kill millions across the globe if it combines with a human influenza to create a new, highly contagious strain transmissible among humans.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    The Philippines’ Typhoon Haiyan was the strongest storm ever to make landfall. Five years on, we revisit this story.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    We Are Still Here: A Story from Native Alaska

    We Are Still Here: A Story from Native Alaska

    From Qatar to Alaska, a personal journey exploring what it means to belong when your culture is endangered.