Bird flu fears are sneezed at

As fears grow in Europe about the spread of bird flu, Greek experts said yesterday there was no great cause for concern here and the country was well stocked with medicines to combat more conventional flu strains. The World Health Organization has warned that a global pandemic of bird flu could kill between 2 million and 7.4 million people if the virus mutates to become highly infectious to humans. Greek scientists say there is no reason to panic. «It is true that germs do not have borders,» said Sotiris Raptis, a professor of pathology at Athens University. «A pandemic is not imminent, as far as the next few months are concerned.» Raptis said that now was the time for people to get flu jabs against more common forms of the virus. The authorities have already ordered some 500,000 doses of two anti-viral drugs, worth 7 million euros, to boost supplies. President of the National Pharmaceutical Organization (EOF) Dimitris Vagionas told Kathimerini there would be enough medicine for some 8 million people in Greece if there was a flu outbreak.