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Published on 28 August 2007

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UN urges cooperation on diseases

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The United Nations is urging the international community to work together because new diseases are emerging at an “unprecedented” rate.

The World Health Organization said securing public health is a “a collective aspiration and a mutual responsibility”.

It comes as experts are warning that a new flu pandemic is “not a question of if but of when”.

Scientists believe that the current bird flu virus, which has so far infected 321 people and killed 194, could mutate into a form which easily passes between humans.

The so-called Spanish flu pandemic of 1918-20 is estimated to have killed between 20million and 40 million people in a similar fashion.

WHO director-general Margaret Chan said: “Given today’s universal vulnerability to these threats, better security calls for global solidarity.

“International public health security is both a collective aspiration and a mutual responsibility. The new watchwords are diplomacy, cooperation, transparency and preparedness.”

In its annual World Health Report, the WHO also sets out its strategic action plan to respond to a pandemic.

It also highlights the need for vigilance in managing the risks and consequences of the international spread of polio and a new strain of extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB).

Copyright © PA Business 2007

World Health Organization: www.who.int/en

 



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