WHO says human flu pandemic 'inevitable'

WHO says human flu pandemic 'inevitable'

WHO says human flu pandemic 'inevitable'

Updated 19 December 2011, 14:02 AEDT

ThThe World Health Organisation is warning against complacency in the fight against bird flu, saying another human influenza pandemic is inevitable sooner or later.

Director general Margaret Chan told a regional meeting of the organisation in South Korea: "We do not know whether the H5N1 (avian influenza) virus will cause the next pandemic. But we do know this: the world will experience another influenza pandemic sooner or later".

The meeting was told that bird flu deaths in the Western Pacific, which excludes Indonesia, have fallen in the past year but it is still entrenched in several countries.

The WHO says if a human pandemic breaks out in the region, rapid containment will be its highest priority.

Such an effort will require the deployment of anti-viral drugs, personal protection equipment and other supplies.

A stockpile was established in Singapore in April with the support of Japan and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.