Web Zap*Germs Archive

March 01, 2006

Bird Flu: Coming Soon to USA?

According to U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary, Michael Leavitt, the lethal avian flu now spreading rapidly around the world could soon infect wild birds and domesticated flocks in the United States. In testimony to a congressional panel, Leavitt told senators that no one knows when or if the virus will pose a threat to people. But, he said, "it's just a matter of time -- it may be very soon" when wild birds and possibly poultry flocks contract the disease.

Leavitt said that infection of birds alone in the United States with the H5N1 virus would not create a public health emergency. Such an emergency would occur if the disease mutated so that it became easily transferred from human to human.


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