Fears of a deadly global flu epidemic are diminishing as laboratories around the world destroy samples of the virus they were sent by mistake. Testing kits containing the potentially lethal H2N2 flu strain were dispatched to thousands of labs in 18 countries. The World Health Organisation had warned they could easily cause a flu outbreak if they were not handled properly.
Mexico was one of the countries affected. Pablo Curie, from the health department, said: “We went to these labs and followed the procedures for destroying this type of material. We proceeded with the destruction and can confirm that they have been destroyed. We’ve informed the World Health Organisation, so Mexico is free of any risk at the moment.” The virus killed between one and four million people in 1957. Since 1968 it has not been included in flu vaccines, anyone born after that time would have little or no immunity to it.