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WHO warns of ominous nexus of H1N1 and H5N1
Spread of H1N1 influenza A virus in the Southern Hemisphere creates a fateful scenario where coinfection with H5N1 avian influenza A is now possible, Margaret Chan, MD, director- general of the World Health Organization, recently warned.
"Moreover, we must never forget that the H5N1 avian influenza virus is now firmly established in poultry in several countries," she said. "No one can say how this avian virus will behave when pressured by large numbers of people infected with the new H1N1 virus."
Primarily circulating in Asia, H5N1 causes serious infections in humans but is not readily transmissible between them. H1N1 seems to present an opposite profile, as the virus is easily transmissible but results primarily in mild infections.