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There are chilling warnings in Asia that an inevitable global influenza pandemic could kill millions. This warning comes after the fight against SARS and bird flu left many countries weary. Health experts says the avian influenza has entrenched itself in much of Asia, and is unlikely to disappear soon.

Peter Cordingley is the spokesperson for the World Health Organization, or WHO Western Pacific Office based in the Philippines, and he tells Melanie Yip why.

"If you look back to January this year, when the first report of this virus began to come out, the country in question was Vietnam. There were some people who thought that, perhaps you know, this was a simple problem that could be stopped through surveillance, the killing of infected chickens, and the establishment of sanitized zones around infected areas. Now, we are 11 months down the road, and this virus has spread to nine countries. At the moment, it is quiet, we do not hear many reports of outbreaks, although there are signs of the virus popping up occasionally, but they were quickly put under control. But we think that when the winter comes, which is when flu viruses are more active. We will find that despite what we're looking at the moment, a large part of Asia may well be on the fire with this virus in poultry."

Source: Radio Singapore International

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