"The deadly bird flu virus has spread at lightning speed over the past three months, infecting birds in 30 new countries — double the number previously stricken since 2003, the U.N.'s bird flu point man said Tuesday.
'This is a really serious global situation,' Dr. David Nabarro the U.N.'s chief coordinator for avian influenza, told reporters in Beijing. 'During the last three months globally, there has been an enormous and rapid spread of H5N1.'"
Hmmm. A "really serious global situation" huh? So, just how bad is it? Go ahead - I can take it! Well, if you wade down to the bottom of the article, you'll find that about 108 people have died worldwide. Since 2003.
For comparison, I checked with the Center for Disease Control and found that in 2002, 65,681 people died of influenza and pneumonia in the US alone.
So why is everyone getting so worked up? Because they aren't worried about the bird flu itself; they are worried about the pandemic flu it may mutate into. Should that happen things are going to get, uh, interesting. But the kind of fear-mongering perpetrated by this UN guy isn't going to accomplish much. A population constantly hammered with threats of global catastrophe - global warming, asteroid impact, yada yada yada - is going to tune it out.