EU official warns of deadly flu pandemic

EU officials are already preparing for the possibility that a global flu epidemic, which could cause up to 30 million deaths, might break out in the next few years, Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection Markos Kyprianou said during a press conference in Athens yesterday. The Cypriot commissioner said that efforts had been made to coordinate and make authorities and pharmaceutical companies across Europe aware of the potential danger of a lethal flu pandemic repeating imminently, based on a cycle of 30 to 35 years. Pandemics occur when a new strain of flu virus, to which humans have no immunity, emerges. The most recent one, the Hong Kong flu, killed around a million people worldwide in 1968. The worst episode ever recorded was the Spanish flu pandemic which killed up to an estimated 60 million people between 1918 and 1919.