WORLD HEALTH ORGANISATION WARNS OF HUMAN TO HUMAN BIRD FLU SPREAD IN INDONESIA
SIX MEMBERS OF SAME FAMILY DIE IN LESS THAN EIGHT DAYS
CANADIAN DOCTOR CLAIMS PANDEMIC FEARS "OVERBLOWN"
The day after the World Health Organisation warned of the possibility that bird flu had begun to spread human-to-human (the first stage of the much feared pandemic), news came that six members of the same family had died in Indonesia of the H5N1 virus in less than eight days.
What makes this particularly troubling for the virus watchers is that there was no indication that local poultry was already infected, which has usually been the way the virus has reached humans - from close contact with infected birds.
But in Canada, a respected health professional said the fears of a human pandemic were overblown, and that the billion dollars set aside to fight a pandemic virus outbreak, that hadn't yet happened, would be better spent on underfunded health care emergencies that already existed.
In other bird flu news, a New Zealand virologist claims that when the H5N1 virus has infected people and tests have been taken, the results have shown bird flu is unlike any virus ever seen before, and that it can spread through the human body via the bloodstream. Very unusual indeed.
In the United States, fears of how the avian influenza virus could destroy the multi-billion dollar poultry industy has seen the federal government draw up plans where entire states would be quarantined, in the event of multiple outbreaks on farms.