Wilson Center focuses on Avian flu

In the fuss over Avian flu, which could be the next major pandemic, there are two arguments: 1) “‘It is not if it is going to happen. It is when, and where, and how bad,’ said Dr. Michael Osterholm at the first meeting sponsored by the Wilson Center’s new Global Health Initiative on September 19.” 2) If it were going to happen, it would have, already.

It is unclear how much time must pass before the presumption that “this strain, which has killed 55 percent of its known human victims, [will mutate] into a virus easily transmitted by people,” can be considered refuted, so it is hard even to say, “Time will tell.” And the price of being wrongly complacent would be a “pandemic [that] could kill millions and [which] would have staggering global social and economic impacts.”

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