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WHO Meets to Discuss Threat of a Bird Flu Pandemic


World Health Organization officials are meeting in Geneva to consider the possibility of a global human bird flu pandemic as the deadly H5N1 strain continues to spread rapidly in birds.

Top influenza official Margaret Chan said the outbreak in poultry is historically unprecedented. She said the deadly virus presents a greater challenge to the world than any other emerging infectious disease.

The meeting was called to plan a response in case the bird flu virus mutates into a widespread human flu virus.

So far, the virus has killed 94 people, mostly in Asia. It has infected birds in 30 countries, and it has appeared in cats in Austria and Germany.

French officials confirmed a new case in a dead swan. Russian news agencies reported Monday mass deaths of birds in the south in Stavropol Territory, and Serbia confirmed it in dead swans in several areas.

Some information for this report provided by AFP, Reuters and AP.

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