Health Leaders Cautious of Mutant Bird Flu Strain

World health ministers said at a meeting of the Global Health Security Initiative Dec. 9  that they are practicing vigilance after a Dutch laboratory developed a mutant strain of bird flu.

A research team at Rotterdam’s Erasmus Medical Centre said in September it had created a mutant version of the H5N1 virus that could for the first time be spread among mammals, AFP reports. Bird flu is fatal in 60 percent of human cases but cannot be transmitted between humans.

EU Health Commissioner John Dalli said that Dutch authorities have assured him the virus is secure.

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