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Over the past two weeks China, Thailand and Vietnam have each announced new outbreaks of the avian influenza (H5N1) virus.

H5N1 killed at least 23 people and led to a cull of over 100 million chickens and ducks when it swept through Asia earlier this year. Scientists fear that if the virus evolves the ability to spread easily between humans, a pandemic could result.

The World Health Organisation has asked the countries so far affected to provide samples of the virus to help study the disease and assess the threat it poses. But despite months of being asked, a number of them have failed to comply.

Link to full news story in Science

Reference: Science 305, 321 (2004)

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