Bird Flu Threat Rises
WHO Expert Panel: World 1 Step Closer to Killer Flu
The WHO panel recommends rapid action, including:
- Improving cooperation and information sharing among all human and animal health agencies.
- Improved surveillance of all clusters of human infections.
- Regular meetings of a WHO task force.
- An international stockpile of antiviral drugs.
- Nations should rehearse their rapid response plans to contain early flu outbreaks.
- WHO should explore ways to make human H5N1 vaccine available to affected Asian countries before the start of a pandemic.
Osterholm calls for a huge U.S. effort.
"Planning for a pandemic must be on the agenda of every public health agency, school board, manufacturing plant, investment firm, mortuary, state legislature, and food distributor," he writes.
If a pandemic were 10 years off, Osterholm says a "worldwide influenza Manhattan Project" to develop and distribute a vaccine "just might make a real difference."