February 21, 2006

WHO sees continuing human risk from bird flu

GENEVA (Reuters) - No human cases of avian flu have been
found in India, Egypt or Nigeria but transmission risks remain
as long as the virus is present in birds, the World Health
Organization said on Tuesday.

WHO spokesman Dick Thompson told a press briefing that "a
number of people" with flu-like symptoms have been tested for
the H5N1 strain in the three countries, where outbreaks have
been reported in birds.

"We haven't seen human cases out of these investigations so
far," Thompson said, adding the top UN health agency would keep
up surveillance because it was still possible that human
infection could occur.

"There is really no time frame. As long as the virus is
circulating it could jump into humans," he said.

Bird flu has been detected in more than 30 countries and
territories since 2003 and 170 people are known to have been
infected by the virus, of which 92 died, according to the WHO.