The Next Pandemic?

From Foreign Affairs:

International health officials are warning that a deadly avian influenza virus may soon spread rapidly, overwhelming unprepared health systems in rich and poor countries alike. If the virus mutates to become easily transmittable among humans, the death toll of the resulting global pandemic could number in the millions.

As a call to action, the July/August issue of Foreign Affairs includes a special set of articles written by Laurie Garrett of the Council on Foreign Relations, Dr. Michael Osterholm of the University of Minnesota and the Department of Homeland Security, and Drs. William Karesh and Robert Cook of the Wildlife Conservation Society. Special condensed versions of the essays by Garrett and Osterholm, along with a Web-only Q & A with Garrett, are available on the Foreign Affairs website today.

Nature magazine is providing additional information on the medical and scientific aspects of the H5N1 virus. The coverage of both magazines is being coordinated to assist efforts of the Royal Institution World Science Assembly to spur preparations by governments and international organizations.

A lot more here.