In a release from World Health Organization (WHO) the apex medical body warns the people of South East Asia against rapid spread of the avian influenza or bird flu virus in the area. It has also urged the medical bodies in these areas to provide full information to WHO regarding new cases of the disease. The inclusion of every available detail of the disease including their closeness in occurrence in time and place is important to complete the ongoing assessment of the nature of threat posed by the H5N1 virus. Very case needs to be investigated to ensure the in time detection of clusters of cases occurring in the same family or in the same area.
WHO is of the opinion that the virus may have already started to mutate to a new strain that may affect the human population and thus the authorities are needed to intervene early to stop any pandemonium from arising.
Of the 69 cases of bird flu reported so far, 46 of them had been fatal. These cases had occurred in three phases.
January to March 2004: 35 cases with 24 deaths.
August to October 2004: 9 cases and 8 deaths
December 2004 to present: 25 cases and 14 deaths
Although all the deaths except one had happened in Vietnam, the last death was reported from Cambodia, showing the spread of the dreaded disease.