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Dr. David Nabarro is one of the most senior public health experts around. He has just been appointed by the UN General Secretary to lead the UN's avian influenza response team and prepare for a possible, most agencies say impending, influenza pandemic. He is now the Senior UN system Co-ordinator for Avian and Human Influenza.
As more and more health experts around the world talk about an impending influenza pandemic which ‘could kill 150 million people', it is crucial that agencies all over the world take steps to reduce the risk and get prepared, says the World Health Organization.
Already there have been some cases of healthcare professionals becoming infected by patients who themselves were infected with avian influenza. So, the virus already has a limited capacity to jump from human-to-human
GENEVA (AP) - The World Health Organization moved Friday to revise alarming predictions that a pandemic stemming from the bird flu virus ravaging parts of Asia could kill as many as 150 million people.
The U.N. health agency was deluged with inquiries after Dr. David Nabarro - named Thursday as the U.N. coordinator for avian and human influenza - cited the number during a news conference at the U.N.'s New York headquarters.
While WHO's flu spokesman at the agency's Geneva headquarters did not say the 150 million prediction was wrong, he emphasized that 7.4 million deaths is a more realistic estimate.
Scientists have made predictions ranging from less than 2 million to 360 million. Last year, WHO's chief for the Asia-Pacific region predicted 100 million deaths, but until now that was the highest figure publicly mentioned by a WHO official.