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Russian Expert Says Flu Epidemic May Kill Over One Billion This Year
The world is on the brink of a major flu epidemic — one that could claim more than a billion lives, the head of the Russian Virology Institute, Academician Dmitry Lvov said at a press conference organized by the RIA-Novosti news agency on Thursday.
“Up to one billion people could die around the whole world in six months,” Lvov said. The expert did not give a timeframe for the epidemic, but said that it is highly probable that it will start this year. “We are half a step away from a worldwide pandemic catastrophe,” the academic said.
The Russian expert said that U.S. researchers possessed data suggesting that if a pandemic hits, up to 700,000 people will fall ill in the United States. He said that the population of the United States can be roughly compared to that of Russia and thus the number of cases will be approximately the same.
The academician said the pandemic was most likely to be caused by the so-called bird flu stem. “The death rate among those who contract this type of flu reaches 70 percent,” Lvov said.
The expert called for the Russian authorities to prepare for the epidemic. The country will need a reserve of at least 300,000 hospital beds if an epidemic breaks out, he said.
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