"The potential for the disease to spread to other
continents is real and the international scientific
community cannot remain insensitive to the challenge of
preventing this happening," OIE Director-General Bernard
Vallat told a conference in Paris.
The H5N1 influenza virus, which has killed people in
Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia since it hit Asia in
2003, has also devastated trade and led to the
destruction of tens of millions of chickens and other
birds across the region.
A strain of the disease has recently surfaced in North
Korea, causing a cull of hundreds of thousands of
Experts fear that if the H5N1 virus mutated into a more
contagious form, it might unleash a global flu pandemic
that could kill millions of people.
Vallat said the best way to control the disease was to
tackle it at source, with a combination of culling and
end of quotes