The H5N1 virus has already become endemic in Southeast Asia, affecting primarily domestic flocks, Caroline Brown told a press conference at the second international seminar for infectious diseases services in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), and consequently human infections will continue rising there.
She said the virus has also become entrenched in countries closer to Europe, such as Egypt, where small private farms have mainly been hit, adding that as a result new human infections are in effect inescapable.
However, Brown said the situation in Europe was more stable and predictable, and that any potential outbreak will likely be episodic and not part of a regional epidemic, in which case European veterinary services will be able to control any localized appearance of the disease.
With the recently confirmed H5N1 death of a five-year-old Indonesian girl, the human death toll out of 307 cases around the world has risen to 186, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
The second hardest-hit country after Indonesia is Vietnam, where 94 human bird flu cases have been registered and the death toll hit 42. Vietnam suffered damage worth $200 million, as over 40 million domestic birds, or some 15% of the total, died of the virus or were culled.