Thursday, January 12, 2006

Britain at Highest Risk from Avian Flu Pandemic

Widespread urbanisation, high population density and a large number of foreign visitors increase the country’s vulnerability Britain is at highest risk of an H5N1 flu outbreak if the avian virus starts passing from person to person, according to a map of the probable global impact of a pandemic according to the The Times. Although a pandemic strain of flu is more likely to emerge elsewhere in the world, Britain is the country to which it is most likely to spread once the disease evolves the ability readily to infect humans, the research suggests.

High population density, widespread urbanisation and large number of tourists and business visitors make it particularly vulnerable to a new virus, the study by Maplecroft, a risk consultancy, finds. As well as topping the league table of countries to which human H5N1 flu is likely to spread, Britain is also the only Western country considered at “extreme risk” from the general impact of a pandemic. The alarming figures are from a global survey that uses World Health Organisation (WHO) data to calculate the hazards that a pandemic of flu or another new infectious disease would pose to individual countries and regions. Read More ...

Source: The Times
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