Spit Take

This will make you sit up and take notice:

Russian Expert Says Flu Epidemic May Kill Over One Billion This Year

Created: 28.10.2004 18:06 MSK (GMT +3), Updated: 18:15 MSK

The world is on the brink of a major flu epidemic — one that could claim more than a billion lives, the head of the Russian Virology Institute, Academician Dmitry Lvov said at a press conference organized by the RIA-Novosti news agency on Thursday.

“Up to one billion people could die around the whole world in six months,” Lvov said. The expert did not give a timeframe for the epidemic, but said that it is highly probable that it will start this year. “We are half a step away from a worldwide pandemic catastrophe,” the academic said.

The Russian expert said that U.S. researchers possessed data suggesting that if a pandemic hits, up to 700,000 people will fall ill in the United States.

Lvov believes the avian flu that’s been percolating in Southeast Asia will be responsible. “The death rate among those who contract this type of flu reaches 70 percent,” he said.

That’s only slightly lower than the death rate for ebola.

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