Thursday, August 18, 2005

The Coming Avian Flu Pandemic: "The new U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt told the Associated Press in early August that an influenza pandemic was now an 'absolute certainty,' echoing repeated warnings from the World Health Organization that it was 'inevitable.' Likewise Science magazine observed that expert opinion held the odds of a global outbreak as '100 percent.'

"In the same grim spirit, the British press revealed that officials were scouring the country for suitable sites for mass mortuaries, based on official fears that avian flu could kill as many as 700,000 Britons. The Blair government is already conducting emergency simulations of a pandemic outbreak ('Operation Arctic Sea') and is reported to have readied 'Cobra' -- a cabinet-level working group that coordinates government responses to national emergencies like the recent London bombings from a secret war room in Whitehall -- to deal with an avian flu crisis."

One wonders what preparations State and Federal governments have made in Australia. The issue seems to attract scant attention.

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