Bird flu 'could take 142m lives

The study, prepared for the Sydney, Australia-based Lowy Institute think tank, says there are "enormous uncertainties" about whether a flu pandemic might happen, and where and when it might happen first. The report, titled Global Macroeconomic Consequences of Pandemic Influenza, looks at four possible scenarios:

- Mild, in which the pandemic is similar to the 1968-69 Hong Kong flu;

- Moderate, similar to the 1957 Asian flu;

- Severe, similar to the 1918-19 Spanish flu (which infected an estimated 1 billion people and claimed as many as 50 million lives);

- An "ultra" scenario that is worse than the Spanish flu outbreak. In its "ultra" or worst-case scenario, Hong Kong's economy is halved, the large-scale collapse of Asian economic activity causes global trade flows to dry up, and money flows out to safe havens in North America and Europe. Deaths could top 28 million in China and 24 million in India - Bird flu 'could take 142m lives'�� - Feb 15, 2006

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