Wednesday, March 08, 2006

The Avian Flu Claims Another Human Victim

As the Avian Bird Flu continues to spread west across Europe, it seems ever likelier that the United States will inevitably face the virus.

This appears especially probable given the recent deaths in China and infection in Germany:

A German minister claimed that deadly bird flu was moving closer to infecting humans in Europe after two more cats died of the virus, while China reported its 10th human fatality.

And Albania became the latest European country to report an outbreak of the highly pathogenic H5N1 bird flu strain, as international veterinary experts warned that the United States, Canada and Australia will probably not escape the ever-spreading disease.

China said on Wednesday that a nine-year-old girl had become the 10th person to die from bird flu, bringing the global death toll since 2003 to 96.

In Germany, Agriculture Minister Horst Seehofer said late on Tuesday the discovery of the dead cats a week after the first feline infection in Germany signalled a heightened risk of infection for humans.

"This means that the virus is not confined to a single case of a mammal but has spread to several cases. Therefore, bird flu has clearly moved closer to humans."

The administration has issued a number of warnings to state and local governements, and it remains up to these branches of government be adequately prepared for the arrival of the H5N1 virus.