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April 2, 2012

UK study warns of 'extreme' flu pandemic due to Olympics related tourist inflow

     London: A study has warned that the presence of an additional 5.3 million tourists in Britain during the London Olympics will increase the risk of a flu pandemic. Britain has been ranked second only to Singapore for its vulnerability to the rapid spread of an influenza outbreak. Bath-based analysts believe this summer's Games will mean an even greater danger of flu spreading. Sky News quoted Maplecroft, as saying that the UK is at high risk partly because of its densely populated cities, highly mobile population and popularity as a global travel hub. Maplecroft has listed five countries at "extreme" risk for the spread of the flu, with Singapore top, followed by the UK , South Korea , the Netherlands and Germany . However, the high quality of Britain 's health infrastructure and communications networks help put it in the top 10 countries capable of tackling an outbreak, the study said. The report found that Southeast Asia was most likely to face a new flu pandemic, with the region containing six of the 10 countries at highest risk. Cambodia , Bangladesh , China and Vietnam are considered at extreme risk in this category. Experts have previously warned that more severe pandemics may occur in the future, possibly as a result of a mutated bird flu strain. The H1N1 swine flu outbreak in 2009-10 claimed 457 lives in the UK.
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