Congo - Bird Flu Outbreak
Would Be 'Catastrophic'

An outbreak of bird flu in Congo would be "catastrophic," but more attention is needed for other diseases which are killing thousands every day in the war-ravaged country, a senior UN humanitarian official said today.
About 1,200 die needlessly every day in Congo and any outbreak of bird flu on top of that could have particularly severe consequences, said Ross Mountain, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's deputy special representative for Congo.
"It would be catastrophic if avian flu struck Congo," Ross told reporters, noting that far more attention is focused globally on a disease that has caused relatively few deaths so far compared to those which are ravaging Congo and are largely treatable, like bubonic plague, sleeping sickness or malaria.
Bird flu has shown up in birds in other African countries, Cameroon being the closest to Congo.
Patricia A. Doyle DVM, PhD
Bus Admin, Tropical Agricultural Economics
Univ of West Indies
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