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Saturday, November 12, 2005

Asian Beauty:Alice.O | WHO tips bird flu will spawn new deadly virus that will spread to Japan

The bird flu epidemic across Southeast Asia is bound to lead to the development of a deadly virus that is expected to spread to Japan, a World Health Organization (WHO) executive said.
In an exclusive interview with the Mainichi, Lee Jong-wook, director general of the WHO, pointed out there is a high possibility that a new type of highly contagious influenza virus will develop in Southeast Asia and southern China where the bird flu epidemic continues to spread.
Experts have warned that millions of people may die if the new flu virus spreads and causes a worldwide flu epidemic.
"It's a matter of time before a new type of flu virus emerges. The period when we discussed whether it will be a threat is over. We should be prepared for a possible epidemic," Lee said.
The director general underscored the need to implement large-scale countermeasures immediately after the first carrier is found. Specifically, he said the entire neighborhood where a patient is found should be completely isolated from surrounding areas to prevent further infection.
However, Lee acknowledged that it is difficult to prevent the spread of a new type of flu, noting that such viruses spread in the air and that anti-virus drugs are in short supply on a global scale.


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