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Once-Banned Bird Flu Study Suggests Pandemic Threat Is Real
Date:5/2/2012

Dr. Bruce Hirsch, an infectious diseases specialist at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, N.Y., agreed that publication is likely to do more good than harm. "We should be aware of the fact that this influenza can mutate," he said. "Publication makes us safer because we know what to look out for now. This can help facilitate preventive strategies and can eventually lead to more effective vaccine development and antiviral therapy."

He added, "We live in a much smaller world because of air travel and population density and certainly we are more vulnerable to viruses as a result."

This virus is not likely to be used by terrorists to cause a pandemic, Hirsch said. "It became less lethal in the animal model. I am reassured by the fact that the ability to make it a 'terror' virus has not really been demonstrated."

More information

Learn more about bird flu at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

SOURCES: Bruce Hirsch, M.D., attending physician, infectious disease, North Shore University Hospital, Manhasset, N.Y.; Yoshihiro Kawaoka, professor of virology, University of Wisconsin- Madison; Joseph Sriyal Malik Peiris, microbiologist, University of Hong Kong; May 2, 2012, Nature, online


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