The World Health Organization is urging all countries to monitor avian influenza and to report any human cases that could indicate the beginning of a flu pandemic, Reuters reported.
About 40 countries have reported new outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza in poultry and wild birds since November, according to WHO. Several strains of bird flu have been spreading across Europe and Asia, resulting in large-scale poultry slaughters and some human deaths in China.
Due to the rapid pace and expansive nature of these outbreaks, WHO director-general Dr. Margaret Chan said the organization is on "high alert."
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The WHO’s 194 member states are required to detect and report human cases promptly, Chan added: "We cannot afford to miss the early signals."