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WHO says bird flu outbreaks raise alarm, but human risks still low
[LONDON] There is a low risk of sustained human-to-human transmission of bird flu in China, where an outbreak of the H7N9 strain is infecting and killing people, the World Health Organization said on Wednesday, although avian viruses need constant monitoring.
Outbreaks of H5 bird flu strains in poultry and wild birds across Europe, Africa and Asia are also raising concern, the WHO said, and while the human risk of these outbreaks is also low for now, vigilance is vital.
"Constant change is the nature of all influenza viruses - this makes influenza a persistent and significant threat to public health," Wenqing Zhang, head of the WHO's global influenza programme, told reporters on a telephone briefing.