Bird flu outbreak: Germany calls for vaccination

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Dr Gerd Müller said the number of people who are not vaccinated may be the equivalent of 14 million Americans

Germany’s health minister has called on people to get vaccinated against a feared killer virus.

“Of all the risks in life, the most grave and fatal threat is an epidemic of serious diseases,” Gerd Müller said.

“Vaccination is a prerequisite for health protection,” he added.

The state minister for public health, Harald Schmidt, said 2 million Germans had been contaminated since 2015 by a strain of the H5N1 bird flu virus, known as Avian Influenza.

Although not contagious among humans, H5N1 can cause disease in poultry and have been found in wild birds – although no people have ever caught it.

Mr Schmidt said deaths and illnesses linked to the virus in Germany had reached an estimated 750 people in recent years.

The news follows a spate of deaths linked to H5N1 in recent months in France, Egypt and Egypt’s Red Sea resort of Sharm El-Sheikh, which has forced the country to suspend tourism from the region.

In April, the WHO urged nations around the world to stop poultry imports from the Egyptian resort as part of a campaign to prevent the virus spreading to humans.

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