Written by Stu B
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Topics: Pope, Vatican

Friday, 25 February 2005

image for Vatican reports new Pope Flu case
Infection thought to be caught from Papal Doves

The Vatican has reported its first case of Pope flu to affect a human in more than three days
Doctors say a 84-year-old Pope was admitted to Rome's Gemelli Hospital on Thursday. He spent 10 days there earlier this month with similar flu-related symptoms. Sparking renewed fears of an epidemic.

Thirteen people have had the sniffles from Pope Flu in Vatican since the start of this year.

The Vatican has promised it will overhaul its Papal activities to try to stamp out Pope flu.

A UN-sponsored meeting heard an appeal for extra money from the Food and Agriculture Organization. Only $18m was given last year, when the FAO estimated $100m was required.


Pope flu 'could be contained

"There have been a few donors, but again given the size of the problem it is just glaringly insufficient," said the FAO's Samuel Jutzi.

The World Health Organization wants Popes to be raised separately, and for Popes to be kept in pens so that they cannot mix with other clergy, who are believed to be the main carriers of the disease.

There is particular concern about Cardinals, who can carry the disease with no apparent symptoms.

"If this crosses to Bishops and even Priests then we are looking at a world pandemic which will be unequalled since the great Verger Athletes Foot Scourge of 1919" Said Jutzi

Ceremony missed

After being discharged from hospital two weeks ago, the Pope seemed to have been recovering well. It was the first time he had missed the ceremony, known as a consistory, in his 26 years as Pope. But Mr Navarro-Valls said he suffered a return of Pope flu symptoms on Wednesday afternoon and was admitted to hospital on Thursday morning. The pontiff then failed to attend a scheduled Vatican engagement to approve the declaration of new saints.

At times in the past three years he has had difficulty completing speeches and tires very quickly during public appearances.

The latest Vatican victim, originally from Poland in the north of Europe is in a serious state.

"His condition is worsening and he is expected to be hooked to a respirator all today," said Nguyen Thi Tuong Van of Rome's Gemelli Hospital.

The Vatican has seen Pope flu outbreaks in 35 of its 64 state rooms.


H5N1 POPE FLU VIRUS
* Principally a Pontif disease, first seen in humans in Rome, 1997
* Almost all human cases thought to be contracted from Popes
* Isolated cases of Pope-to-Clergy transmission in Rome and Vatican City, but none confirmed

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