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Health experts are concerned

that if H5N1 gains the ability to spread easily among people,

it may set off a lethal global outbreak of flu.

While some flu pandemics are relatively mild,

the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic

killed an estimated 50 million people worldwide.

Seven Indonesian Bird Flu Cases Linked to Patients (Update1)

"May 23 (Bloomberg) -- All seven people infected with bird flu in a cluster of Indonesian cases can be linked to other patients, according to disease trackers investigating possible human-to-human transmission of the H5N1 virus."

"A team of international experts has been unable to find animals that might have infected the people, the World Health Organization said in a statement today. In one case, a 10-year- old boy who caught the virus from his aunt may have passed it to his father, the first time officials have seen evidence of a three-person chain of infection, an agency spokeswoman said. Six of the seven people have died."

"Almost all of the 218 cases of H5N1 infections confirmed by the WHO since late 2003 can be traced to direct contact with sick or dead birds. Strong evidence of human-to-human transmission may prompt the global health agency to convene a panel of experts and consider raising the pandemic alert level, said Maria Cheng, an agency spokeswoman."

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WHO: Avian Flu Rapidly Spreading in Birds Around World

23 May 2006 ~ Voice of America

"Public Health Experts attending the World Health Assembly say the H5N1 virus in birds is rapidly spreading around the world. The World Health Organization urges nations to speed up their pandemic preparedness plans."

"The U.N. agency says there is greater chance now for the H5N1 virus to move into the human population because of the rapid spread of the virus from infected birds."

"WHO Coordinator of Epidemic and Pandemic Alert and Response, Keiji Fukuda, says influenza pandemics occur at least a couple of times each century. "We are in a period in which the risk both elevated and more visible and this is because of the H5N1 virus. And, this is because this virus has the ability to persist and to spread and also to infect people. Now the WHO assessment at this period is that we remain at phase three. This is a period in which we may see examples of limited human-to-human transmission."

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Time to start buying the duct tape and extra food and water like before y2k. Would be pretty scary if this thing spread throughout the U.S. and there was like a quarantine.

bidrflu and y2k - same outcome - just another thing to keep people concerned about the wrong things - never gona happen

besides if they cant deliver a 6 pack of water to New Orleans how are they gona do anything about something really serious????

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. . .here's another one on the way!

Island-hopping virus' ferocity exposed 23 May 2006; Helen Pearson

Joint-crippling disease threatens to spread across the globe.

Scientists have found clues as to why a little-known virus is disabling hundreds of thousands of Indian Ocean island dwellers, in an outbreak that threatens to spread further around the world. It seems the virus has adopted a genetic change that may make it more efficient at invading the mosquitoes that carry it from person to person.

The chikungunya virus has infected around one-third of the population (about 250,000 people) on the French island of R

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