US unprepared for super-flu pandemic - Pandemic panic

Indianapolis Star


The U.S. is unprepared for the next flu pandemic, lacking the manufacturing capacity to provide 300 million doses of a vaccine for three to five more years, Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt said Sunday. 'What we all learned from (Hurricane) Katrina is that sometimes we have to think very clearly about the unthinkable,' Leavitt said. 'We're not as prepared as we need to be. ...We will not have enough for everyone.' A strain of a bird flu that has killed 67 people in Asia has sparked concerns of a super-flu that could kill millions worldwide, and U.S. officials acknowledge that the strain in its current form could reach here through a migratory bird...


Pandemic panic

Washington Times
by Michael Fumento


'The indication is that we will see a return of the 1918 flu virus,' warns the nation's top health official. 'The projections are that this virus will kill 1 million Americans.' A quote ripped from today's headlines about an impending 'bird flu' pandemic? No, the year was 1976 and the prediction regarding the 'swine flu' fell 999,999 deaths short. That's something to remember as we endure the current hysteria. Another is that we've been here before with the same virus everybody is currently squawking about -- avian influenza type H5N1 -- which hit Hong Kong in 1997. Typical headline: 'Race to prevent world epidemic of lethal 'bird flu.'' I was there too, with a piece that was antihysteria (therefore grossly irresponsible). The world death toll from that 'wave?' Six. … But the best prediction is no avian flu pandemic at all, especially in the short period before we have stockpiles of effective vaccines and drugs...


Informant: Thomas L. Knapp



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November 2005

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