Team of experts sent to Vietnam to study bird flu risk

The World Health Organization (WHO) has sent a team of international experts to Vietnam to study whether the H5N1 bird flu virus could be evolving into a form that might trigger a human pandemic.

In a statement WHO said that the team of virologists and epidemiologists were looking at the possibility of more widespread H5N1 human transmission, changes in the H5N1 virus and the likelihood of increased human-to-human transmission.

WHO representative in Vietnam, Hans Troedsson, says that what has happened in Vietnam may have public health implications for the entire world and will be crucial in preparing for a possible pandemic.

At present WHO officials in Hanoi are not giving any details of the study.

Scientists have been constantly tracking the evolution of the H5N1 virus, which is infectious in birds but does not spread easily among humans.

Health experts mainly fear that the disease could mutate into a form that spreads easily among humans, unleashing a pandemic against against which people have no immunity.

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