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Archive for Wednesday, April 5, 2006

U.N. cites rapid spread of bird flu

April 5, 2006

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— The deadly bird flu virus has spread at lightning speed over the past three months, infecting birds in 30 new countries - double the number previously stricken since 2003, the U.N.'s bird flu point man said Tuesday.

"This is a really serious global situation," Dr. David Nabarro, the U.N.'s chief coordinator for avian influenza, told reporters in Beijing. "During the last three months globally, there has been an enormous and rapid spread of H5N1."

Thirty new countries and territories in Africa, Europe, the Indian subcontinent and the Middle East have reported H5N1 infections in birds this year, he said. That rapid acceleration compares with the previous two and half years, when only 15 countries - mostly in Asia - reported bird flu.

Since 2003, bird flu has killed at least 108 people.

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