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The rapid spread of the H5N1 avian flu virus over the past several months is unprecedented in the disease’s history. World health authorities, governments and businesses have watched with concern as the virus has crept out of Asia to gain a foothold in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

While the H5N1 virus has not yet mutated to where it can spread from one person to another, the effect of a potential flu pandemic on human life and business disruption could far exceed a terrorist attack and wreak havoc on the insurance industry.

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