SARS, avian flu expert named to lead WHO

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Nov. 27, 2006

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Dr. Margaret Chan, the World Health Organization's assistant director-general of communicable disease and the former director of health for Hong Kong, was named Nov. 9 to be director-general of the organization by the World Health Assembly.

She follows the footsteps of Dr. Lee Jong-wook, MPH, who died in May -- three years into his five-year term.

Dr. Chan is most known for her work in dealing with the first human outbreak of H5N1 avian influenza in Hong Kong in 1997, which involved ordering the slaughter of all the city's poultry. She also led the response to severe acute respiratory syndrome. She first joined the agency in 2003 as the director of its Dept. of Protection of the Human Environment.

"I am confident she will ensure WHO's role as the premier global health agency, guided by scientific excellence and well-prepared to meet the many challenges it faces," said Mike Leavitt, secretary of the Dept. of Health and Human Services.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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