Avian Flu Threat

January 13, 2006 • Volume 16, Issue 2
Are we prepared for the next pandemic?
By Sarah Glazer

Introduction

A mother in Turkey mourns at the grave of her 14-year-old son on Jan. 6, 2006. Three of her four children died from avian flu. They were the first human bird-flu fatalities outside East Asia, where at least 75 people have died.  (AP Photo/Murad Sezer)
A mother in Turkey mourns at the grave of her 14-year-old son on Jan. 6, 2006. Three of her four children died from avian flu. They were the first human bird-flu fatalities outside East Asia, where at least 75 people have died. (AP Photo/Murad Sezer)

As deaths from bird flu continue to mount in Asia — and now threaten Europe — concern about a worldwide epidemic has prompted calls to action at the highest levels of government. Last month, in response to President Bush's emergency request, Congress approved $3.8 billion to develop new vaccines and stockpile anti-flu medications. Some critics say it's too little too late. If a pandemic hit tomorrow, the nation would have drugs to treat only very few people, no approved vaccine and a public health system that is woefully unprepared for a pandemic. With each new case of human infection, the danger increases that bird flu could easily pass among humans, health authorities warn. But some scientists doubt the virus will mutate into one that is easily transmitted from human to human. So far, most victims had close contact with poultry. But even skeptics agree a flu pandemic is inevitable at some point, and that the nation needs to shore up its response.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Disease
Jun. 02, 2017  Pandemic Threat
Jul. 22, 2016  Mosquito-Borne Disease
Feb. 13, 2015  Emerging Infectious Diseases
Nov. 08, 2013  Lyme Disease
Jan. 06, 2012  Preventing Disease
Apr. 02, 2010  Breast Cancer
Sep. 12, 2008  Heart Health
Aug. 24, 2007  Fighting Superbugs
Jan. 13, 2006  Avian Flu Threat
Jun. 20, 2003  Fighting SARS
Apr. 05, 2002  Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Mar. 09, 2001  Diabetes Epidemic
Mar. 02, 2001  Mad Cow Disease
Dec. 24, 1999  Asthma Epidemic
Aug. 05, 1983  Multiple Sclerosis
May 27, 1983  Chronic Pain: The Hidden Epidemic
Sep. 24, 1976  Influenza Control
Sep. 16, 1970  Virus Research
Mar. 14, 1956  Progress Against Polio
May 25, 1955  Degenerative Diseases
May 25, 1949  Chronic Disease
Mar. 01, 1924  The Foot and Mouth Disease
BROWSE RELATED TOPICS:
Infectious Diseases
Livestock
Regional Political Affairs: East Asia and the Pacific