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Pandemic "only a matter of time": WHO chief

Today Online | November 7 2005

World Health Organisation (WHO) chief Lee Jong-wook gestures during a global bird flu conference in Geneva. Lee said an influenza pandemic "is only a matter of time" as he opened a three-day council of war on H5N1 avian flu.

An influenza pandemic "is only a matter of time," the head of the World Health Organisation, Lee Jong-Wook, warned as he opened a three-day council of war on H5N1 avian flu.
.
"We don't know when this will happen, but we know it will happen," Lee, the WHO's director-general, said. "(...) If we are unprepared the next pandemic will cause incalculable human misery... no society will be exempt and no economy will be unscathed."
.
The talks, gathering 400 experts and decision-makers from around the world, will be briefed on the latest data about avian influenza and review measures to bolster animal surveillance and preparations for tackling any human pandemic.
.
It is the seniormost global meeting of doctors, veterinarians and public-health officials since the avian influenza scare erupted in 2003.
.
In addition, it is the first to gather the World Bank alongside the WHO, Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).
.
The conference takes place against a backdrop of growing concern about the failure to roll back the H5N1 bird flu virus in Asia, its spread to Europe and the vulnerability of Africa, the world's poorest continent.
.
"We have experienced a relentless spread of avian flu," driven principally by migratory birds, Lee said sombrely.
.
Lee said that 63 deaths, out of 124 known cases of human infection, had been reported to the WHO, 150 million fowl had been slaughtered and the economic cost of the virus was some 10 billion dollars.
.
At present, the H5N1 virus is transmissible from bird to humans, but cannot be easily passed from humans to humans.
.
The worry, as Lee said, is that the virus will mutate, picking up genes that make it highly contagious from humans to humans.
.
That could initiate a pandemic that in modern era of jet travel and the globalised economy claim millions of lives and inflict economic costs in the hundreds of billions of dollars. — AFP
An influenza pandemic "is only a matter of time," the head of the World Health Organisation, Lee Jong-Wook, warned as he opened a three-day council of war on H5N1 avian flu.
.
"We don't know when this will happen, but we know it will happen," Lee, the WHO's director-general, said. "(...) If we are unprepared the next pandemic will cause incalculable human misery... no society will be exempt and no economy will be unscathed."
.
The talks, gathering 400 experts and decision-makers from around the world, will be briefed on the latest data about avian influenza and review measures to bolster animal surveillance and preparations for tackling any human pandemic.
.
It is the seniormost global meeting of doctors, veterinarians and public-health officials since the avian influenza scare erupted in 2003.
.
In addition, it is the first to gather the World Bank alongside the WHO, Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).
.
The conference takes place against a backdrop of growing concern about the failure to roll back the H5N1 bird flu virus in Asia, its spread to Europe and the vulnerability of Africa, the world's poorest continent.
.
"We have experienced a relentless spread of avian flu," driven principally by migratory birds, Lee said sombrely.
.
Lee said that 63 deaths, out of 124 known cases of human infection, had been reported to the WHO, 150 million fowl had been slaughtered and the economic cost of the virus was some 10 billion dollars.
.
At present, the H5N1 virus is transmissible from bird to humans, but cannot be easily passed from humans to humans.
.
The worry, as Lee said, is that the virus will mutate, picking up genes that make it highly contagious from humans to humans.
.
That could initiate a pandemic that in modern era of jet travel and the globalised economy claim millions of lives and inflict economic costs in the hundreds of billions of dollars. — AFP An influenza pandemic "is only a matter of time," the head of the World Health Organisation, Lee Jong-Wook, warned as he opened a three-day council of war on H5N1 avian flu.
.
"We don't know when this will happen, but we know it will happen," Lee, the WHO's director-general, said. "(...) If we are unprepared the next pandemic will cause incalculable human misery... no society will be exempt and no economy will be unscathed."
.
The talks, gathering 400 experts and decision-makers from around the world, will be briefed on the latest data about avian influenza and review measures to bolster animal surveillance and preparations for tackling any human pandemic.
.
It is the seniormost global meeting of doctors, veterinarians and public-health officials since the avian influenza scare erupted in 2003.
.
In addition, it is the first to gather the World Bank alongside the WHO, Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).
.
The conference takes place against a backdrop of growing concern about the failure to roll back the H5N1 bird flu virus in Asia, its spread to Europe and the vulnerability of Africa, the world's poorest continent.
.
"We have experienced a relentless spread of avian flu," driven principally by migratory birds, Lee said sombrely.
.
Lee said that 63 deaths, out of 124 known cases of human infection, had been reported to the WHO, 150 million fowl had been slaughtered and the economic cost of the virus was some 10 billion dollars.
.
At present, the H5N1 virus is transmissible from bird to humans, but cannot be easily passed from humans to humans.
.
The worry, as Lee said, is that the virus will mutate, picking up genes that make it highly contagious from humans to humans.
.
That could initiate a pandemic that in modern era of jet travel and the globalised economy claim millions of lives and inflict economic costs in the hundreds of billions of dollars. — AFP An influenza pandemic "is only a matter of time," the head of the World Health Organisation, Lee Jong-Wook, warned as he opened a three-day council of war on H5N1 avian flu.
.
"We don't know when this will happen, but we know it will happen," Lee, the WHO's director-general, said. "(...) If we are unprepared the next pandemic will cause incalculable human misery... no society will be exempt and no economy will be unscathed."
.
The talks, gathering 400 experts and decision-makers from around the world, will be briefed on the latest data about avian influenza and review measures to bolster animal surveillance and preparations for tackling any human pandemic.
.
It is the seniormost global meeting of doctors, veterinarians and public-health officials since the avian influenza scare erupted in 2003.
.
In addition, it is the first to gather the World Bank alongside the WHO, Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).
.
The conference takes place against a backdrop of growing concern about the failure to roll back the H5N1 bird flu virus in Asia, its spread to Europe and the vulnerability of Africa, the world's poorest continent.
.
"We have experienced a relentless spread of avian flu," driven principally by migratory birds, Lee said sombrely.
.
Lee said that 63 deaths, out of 124 known cases of human infection, had been reported to the WHO, 150 million fowl had been slaughtered and the economic cost of the virus was some 10 billion dollars.
.
At present, the H5N1 virus is transmissible from bird to humans, but cannot be easily passed from humans to humans.
.
The worry, as Lee said, is that the virus will mutate, picking up genes that make it highly contagious from humans to humans.
.
That could initiate a pandemic that in modern era of jet travel and the globalised economy claim millions of lives and inflict economic costs in the hundreds of billions of dollars. — AFP An influenza pandemic "is only a matter of time," the head of the World Health Organisation, Lee Jong-Wook, warned as he opened a three-day council of war on H5N1 avian flu.
.
"We don't know when this will happen, but we know it will happen," Lee, the WHO's director-general, said. "(...) If we are unprepared the next pandemic will cause incalculable human misery... no society will be exempt and no economy will be unscathed."
.
The talks, gathering 400 experts and decision-makers from around the world, will be briefed on the latest data about avian influenza and review measures to bolster animal surveillance and preparations for tackling any human pandemic.
.
It is the seniormost global meeting of doctors, veterinarians and public-health officials since the avian influenza scare erupted in 2003.
.
In addition, it is the first to gather the World Bank alongside the WHO, Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).
.
The conference takes place against a backdrop of growing concern about the failure to roll back the H5N1 bird flu virus in Asia, its spread to Europe and the vulnerability of Africa, the world's poorest continent.
.
"We have experienced a relentless spread of avian flu," driven principally by migratory birds, Lee said sombrely.
.
Lee said that 63 deaths, out of 124 known cases of human infection, had been reported to the WHO, 150 million fowl had been slaughtered and the economic cost of the virus was some 10 billion dollars.
.
At present, the H5N1 virus is transmissible from bird to humans, but cannot be easily passed from humans to humans.
.
The worry, as Lee said, is that the virus will mutate, picking up genes that make it highly contagious from humans to humans.
.
That could initiate a pandemic that in modern era of jet travel and the globalised economy claim millions of lives and inflict economic costs in the hundreds of billions of dollars. — AFP

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