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UN: Bird Flu Could Hit U.S. in 6 Months

Mar 09, 20062 mins
CSO and CISOData and Information Security

The potentially deadly H5N1 strain of avian flu could reach the Americas in as short a time as half a year as wild birds infected with the virus migrate, the Associated Press reports via

This information comes from the United Nations’ avian flu chief, Dr. David Nabarro, who spoke to a news conference about bird flu on Wednesday, according to the AP.

Migration will most likely lead infected birds from West Africa, where the virus is currently running rampant among fowl, to the Artic and Alaska this spring, the AP reports.

“I think it’s within the next six to 12 months,” Nabarro said.  “And who knows—we’ve been wrong on other things, it may be earlier.

“Because it is moving and because we believe wild birds are implicated, predicting where it’s going to flare up next is a tricky thing to do, and being able to know the scale of the flare-up is also tricky,” Nabarro said.

Nabarro said the U.N is currently slaughtering and vaccinating domestic birds in areas where the virus has been confirmed, according to the AP.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has said it would test between 75,000 and 100,000 live or dead birds in 2006, with a focus on fowl in Alaska, the AP reports.

The announcement comes on the same day that German health authorities confirmed that H5N1 had been discovered in a marten, a weasel-like mammal, on the country’s northern island of Reugen, according to Reuters.

For related CSO content, read Researchers: Immunizations, Quarantines Would Stem Flu Pandemic and Planning for Pandemic.

For related news coverage, check out China Reports 10th Human Death Due to Bird Flu, Bird Flu Found in Austrian Cats, Poland and U.K. Medical Expert: Human H5N1 Pandemic Not Inevitable.

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Managing Editor

Al Sacco was a journalist, blogger and editor who covers the fast-paced mobile beat for and IDG Enterprise, with a focus on wearable tech, smartphones and tablet PCs. Al managed writers and contributors, covered news, and shared insightful expert analysis of key industry happenings. He also wrote a wide variety of tutorials and how-tos to help readers get the most out of their gadgets, and regularly offered up recommendations on software for a number of mobile platforms. Al resides in Boston and is a passionate reader, traveler, beer lover, film buff and Red Sox fan.

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