The influenza pandemic will likely start without warning, and reach crisis stage within days, to weeks.
Researchers have, for the first time, proven that the virus has now spread between a "cluster" of people.
The H5N1 strain of bird flu has finally managed to spread from person to person, according to officials of the World Health Organization (WHO).
Previously it was believed that bird flu could have spread between humans on several occasions. Person to person infection was suspected but could not be confirmed.
Two distinct family clusters, one in Thailand, one in Turkey, have been declared to have been contaminated through intimate or close contact.
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