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Avian Influenza Threat Is Overblown, Author Says

WASHINGTON, December 1, 2005 -

The threat of a deadly worldwide pandemic of influenza stemming from the current outbreak of avian disease in Asia is greatly exaggerated, according to science writer Michael Fumento.

No one knows if the existing avian influenza virus could mutate into a form easily transmissible between humans, Fumento wrote in the magazine Weekly Standard, and there is no reason to think that the world is "overdue" for a pandemic, as is often stated.

Any widespread epidemic that occured today would probably not be as severe as the influenza epidemic of 1918, which was worsened by wartime conditions, wrote Fumento, a frequent commentator on scientific matters and science columnist for the Scripps-Howard News Service. There is no evidence the virus is becoming adapted to humans, he says.

The Fumento article can be viewed here.