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WHO Says Turkish Lesson Shows Little Warning Time On Bird Flu

23 January 2006 -- The outbreak of bird flu in Turkey shows the world would have little time to react to a potential pandemic of human influenza, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) has said.

WHO's director, Lee Jong-Wook, said the unique feature about the outbreak of avian flu in Turkey was the lack of prior warning about the infection in poultry.

Responding to what he said were concerns the WHO had exaggerated the threat of a human pandemic, Jong-Wook said the WHO was not overplaying the threat.

WHO experts plan to help countries near Turkey assess the risk of a bird-flu outbreak that they face. Those countries include Syria, Iran, Iraq, Ukraine, Georgia, and Azerbaijan.

Meanwhile, China reported on 23 January that a tenth person had been diagnosed with the potentially fatal strain of the bird-flu virus. Some 82 people around the world have died of bird flu.

(Reuters, AFP)

Copyright (c) 2006. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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