Doctors do not rule out the possibility of the emergence of a new highly pathogenic chicken flu virus, which may eventually lead to a global epidemiological disaster, Dmitry Lvov, the director of the Institute of Virology of the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences, declared at a news conference today.
Any flu is primarily a bird infection, Lvov underlined. According to him, all of the 15 presently known types of the flu virus had been discovered among wild birds, and three kinds of flu affect human beings. However, the scientist believes that if bird flu and human flu are mixed, a new highly pathogenic virus could emerge, which will have the characteristics of both types of the disease. In such an event Russia may be engulfed in a pandemic flu. Another possibility is that the chicken flu would become widely-spread.
According to information from the World Health Organization, 20 people have contracted chicken flu worldwide so far, of whom 16 people died. Scientists have not yet registered cases of people infecting each other. If the infection were able to spread in that way, the epidemic could affect 4m-5m people worldwide.