OIE: Bird flu risk is overstated
The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) said
fears of a pandemic from H5N1 bird flu were overblown, but this has been
criticised by disease experts and preparedness
Bernard Vallat, director general of the OIE, was quoted as saying that even
though bird flu will always be a risk, "the risk was overestimated," adding that
the virus has proved extremely stable, despite concerns that it could mutate
into a form that could spread easily among humans.
However, infectious disease expert Michael T. Osterholm, a leading pandemic
preparedness proponent, recommends viewing the statements made with caution
because of their differences. He took strong exception to the idea that the
virus is stable and doesn't represent much of a threat.
"Regardless of what Dr Vallat said, this virus is hardly stable," said
Osterholm, director of the University of Minnesota Centre for Infectious Disease
Research and Policy.
Despite the somewhat conflicting accounts, the other experts asserted that
Vallat was sending the wrong signal.
To comment, login here
Or register to be able to comment.