GENEVA (Reuters) - The World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed on Thursday a single case of human-to-human transmission of the H5N1 bird flu virus in a family in Pakistan but said there was no apparent risk of it spreading wider.
A statement from the U.N. agency said tests in its special laboratories in Cairo and London had established the "human infection" through presence of the virus "collected from one case in an affected family."
But it said a WHO team invited to Pakistan to look into an outbreak involving up to nine people, from late October to December 6 had found no evidence of sustained or community human-to-human transmission.
No identified close contacts of the people infected, including health workers and other members of the affected family, had shown any symptoms and they had all been removed from medical observation, the WHO added.
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I remember telling people who were afraid to travel to places with an outbreak of bird flu not to fear the disease unless they were going to travel to chicken farms! Back then there was no incidence of human-to-human transmission of the disease.
But with this latest report from the WHO the probability of the H5N1 virus spreading from human to human has become higher. It has been proven from this one case in Pakistan that it is possible for the virus to be transmitted from human-to-human.
That's a very scary thought! It is possible that virus can mutate into something that will make the transmission from human-to-human even more likely. It it does, it could cause a pandemic that could kill many millions of people. A scary thought, indeed!