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Bird Flu Deaths on the Rise amidst Urgent InvestigationVirologists warn that no vaccine exists yet for this rapidly spreading H5N1 bird flu strain.
According to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), bird flu may spread once again with a certain mutant strain of H5N1 going around Asia and other parts of the world.
Although scientists have yet to confirm whether this strain, H5N1-126.96.36.199 is going to be as powerful as the original strain a few years back, they believe the vaccine for the predecessor strain might not be as effective on it.
Said virologist Malik Peiris from the University of Hong Kong, "There is a human H5N1 vaccine candidate that is a (WHO) recommended vaccine, but it doesn't confer full protection against the (new variant)," said leading virologist Malik Peiris at the University of Hong Kong. "But that is not unusual. H5 viruses keep changing and we have to change the vaccine strain."
The presence of H5N1 has been detected in countries like Cambodia, where eight people have been infected and killed. Said Peiris, "H5N1 cases in Cambodia always have high mortality because they are detected late." H5N1 is notorious for killing up to 60 percent of the people it infects.
As a result, virologists are calling for a closer look at poultry diseases and wild birds, as well as how to prevent their spread.
While the potency of this new strain is highly doubted to be as strong as its predecessor, people are still cautioned to be vigilant as it has shown a rapid rate of contagion.
Experts from the World Health Organization (WHO) gather twice a year, once in February and once in September to talk about such issues and to confirm candidate influenza viruses.
• August 31, 2011. Tan Ee Lyn. Ph.News.Yahoo.com
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