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The WHO is ‘very concerned’ about bird flu. Infection of mammals ‘brings us closer to humans’

Avian flu, also known as bird flu, has raised major concerns at the World Health Organization (WHO) as the H5N1 strain continues to spread to new species, including humans. Jeremy Farrar, head of the UN health agency, expressed “grave concern” about the possibility of the virus adapting to human-to-human transmission, highlighting the high mortality rate associated with the virus.

The WHO reported a total of 889 cases of bird flu in humans in 23 countries, with a mortality rate of 52%. Recent cases in Europe and the United States have raised fears of transmission to humans, although current cases remain rare. Efforts are underway to develop vaccines and therapies for H5N1, with a focus on strengthening monitoring and ensuring equitable access to medical resources.

Farrar emphasized the importance of understanding the potential for human infections and the need for immediate response measures if human-to-human transmission were to occur. As the virus continues to seek new hosts, global health authorities are urged to remain vigilant and prepared for possible outbreaks.