Olympics influx will create 'extreme risk' of pandemic
Monday 02 April 2012
The millions of tourists coming to London for the Olympics will place Britain at extreme risk of a deadly flu pandemic, according to research being released today.
Britain is ranked second in the world, after Singapore, in terms of the risk of an avian or swine flu outbreak spreading, according to a study of more than 200 countries by the risk analyst Maplecroft.
The researchers warn that the scale of the threat is vast. Citing previous warnings from the World Health Organisation, they write: "There is little pre-existing natural immunity to H5N1 infection in the human population. Should the virus improve its transmissibility, the entire human population could be vulnerable to infection."
Britain is at "medium risk" of a pandemic emerging, where avian or swine flu jumps the species barrier and can be spread from person to person.
But factors such as crowded cities, a growing population and the sheer volume of travel in and out of the UK provide ideal conditions for a virus to spread if it makes it to our shores.
Health officials are already on high alert in the run-up to the Olympics, with the Health Protection Agency having increased its surveillance work to detect any signs of a virus. It has set up a monitoring system for hospital admissions and patients presenting to GPs, to alert staff to the first signs of mass contagion.
Life & Style blogs
How Stephen Hawking is still alive, defying ALS and the worst expectations
The black and blue dress: Makers considering a white and gold version
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
The remarkable archaeological underwater discovery that could open up a new chapter in the study of European and British prehistory
Mother's Day 2015: When is it – and how did it first come about?
- 1 Forget 'The Dress': Here are five of the biggest news stories you might have missed
- 2 The black and blue dress: Makers considering a white and gold version
- 3 PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
- 4 The remarkable archaeological underwater discovery that could open up a new chapter in the study of European and British prehistory
- 5 Saudi Muslim cleric claims the Earth is 'stationary' and the sun rotates around it
£9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This role is based within a small family run ...
£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Design and marketing agenc...
£46000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This property investment firm are lookin...
£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company specialises provid...