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Sydney May Get Hit By Flu Bug

September 2, 2000

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) _ The Sydney Games could be a prime target for an influenza outbreak, in large part because the flu could spread quickly through Olympic crowds.

Alan Hampson, deputy director of the World Health Organization Collaborating Center for Influenza, said three strains of the flu are circulating in Sydney.

Hampson said crowds provide the ideal environment for the spread of the flu, and athletes at the peak of their preparation could have a lower resistance.

``If I was an Olympic athlete, I would have had my flu shots,″ he said Friday.

Though Australia’s influenza season peaked between July and September, Hampson said it is unclear what will happen in Sydney in the next few weeks.

``It may vanish and it may increase,″ he said.

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