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The millions of tourists coming to London for the Olympics will dramatically increase the risk that a flu pandemic in Britain might spread, according to new research to be published this week.
...Britain is ranked second in the world, after Singapore, in terms of the risk of an avian or swine flu outbreak spreading, according to a new study of more than 200 countries by the risk analysts Maplecroft.
Experts warn that the scale of the threat is vast. “There is little pre-existing natural immunity to H5N1 infection in the human population. Should the virus improve its transmissibility, the entire human population could be vulnerable to infection,” states the research - citing previous warnings from the World Health Organization.
At its peak in 2006 [bird flu] was present in 63 countries and there were 4,000 outbreaks of the disease in wild birds and poultry. Measures to halt the spread included mass culls on farms where infections were found or suspected. Some 400 million domestic poultry were slaughtered. The most high-profile case in Britain was that of a Bernard Matthews turkey farm in Holton, Suffolk, where 160,000 turkey chicks were gassed in 2007 to prevent the virus spreading any further.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns that the Olympics in London, as well as the Euro 2012 soccer cup in Poland and Ukraine, will be huge draws for American travelers and will increase the risk for measles infection. The virus is much more prevalent in Europe, leading to eight deaths and 26,000 illnesses last year.
Last year, England and Wales had 1,086 cases of measles, according to the U.K. Health Protection Agency. "Ukraine is experiencing a large measles outbreak right now," Martin says.
CDC warns U.S. travelers to London Olympics of measles risk
According to the data of epidemiologist, the total number of measles cases in Ukraine registered for December is 770: 503 cases in Lviv region, 208 cases in Ivano-Frankivsk region, 25 cases in Volyn region, 17 cases in Rivne region and 13 cases in Transcarpathian region
Ukraine: 2011 Measles outbreaks