Oct 6, 2007

Bird Flu is mutating to infect Human

The H5N1 bird flu virus has mutated to infect people more easily, researchers said on Thursday. This is a shocking change, which is dangerous for human. Recent samples of virus taken from birds in Africa and Europe all carry the mutation, said Dr. Yoshihiro Kawaoka of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

"We have identified a specific change that could make bird flu grow in the upper respiratory tract of humans. The viruses that are circulating in Africa and Europe are the ones closest to becoming a human virus," said Kawaoka, who led the study.

The H5N1 avian flu virus, which mostly infects birds, has since 2003 infected 329 people in 12 countries, killing 201 of them. It very rarely passes from one person to another, but if it acquires the ability to do so easily, it likely will cause a global epidemic. via Reuters


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