A mutation of the virus causing bird flu in Asia could erupt at any time and kill up to 150-million people worldwide. That is the alarming prediction from Dr David Nabarro, who is now in charge of the United Nations’ global drive to coordinate responses to bird flu.
“The range of deaths could be anything between 5 and 150 million. But I believe the work we’re doing will make the difference,” he says.
Nabarro’s comments follow an agreement by a group of southeast Asian nations to endorse a three-year UN plan to combat the virus’s spread.
As he is previously worked for the World Health Organisation, Nabarro’s appointment is widely seen as a sign that the UN is taking the problem very seriously.
Over the last two years, bird flu has swept through poultry populations in Asia killing huge numbers of birds and claiming the lives of more than 60 people.