f_0020448_17210 - Summer '10 UP FRONT-FINAL0618:Summer...

Info iconThis preview shows pages 1–2. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
10 WORLD POLICY JOURNAL • SUMMER 2010 THE NEXT PANDEMIC JOHN M. BARRY John M. Barry, DistinguishedScholar at the Tu- lane/Xavier Center for Bioenvironmental Research, is the author of The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History (Viking,2004), a study of the 1918 pandemic that was named by the National Academies of Science the year’s outstanding book. He has advised both the Bush and Obama ad- ministrations, as well as other federal, state and World Health Organization officials on influenza outbreaks. Barry serves on the advisory committees of Johns Hop- kins Bloomberg School for Public Health and MIT’s Center for Engineering Systems Fundamentals. * * * I t is the nature of the influenza virus to cause pandemics. There have been at least 11 in the last 300 years, and there will certainly be another one, and one after that, and another after that. And it is impossible to predict whether a pandemic will be mild or lethal. In 1997 in Hong Kong, the H5N1 virus jumped directly from chickens to 18 people, killing six. Public health officials slaughtered hundreds of thousands of ducks, chickens and other fowl to prevent further spread, and the virus seemed contained. It wasn’t. In 2004, H5N1 returned with a vengeance. Since then, it has killed hundreds of millions of birds, while several hundred million more have been culled in prevention efforts. And it has infected more than 500 human beings, killing 60 percent of those infected. The virus’s high mortality rate and memories of the 1918 influenza—the best estimates of that death toll range from 35 to 100 million people—got the world’s attention. Every developed nation prepared for a pandem- ic, as did local and regional governments and the private sector. They all based their prepara- tions on a 1918-like scenario, but it did not come. It still could. In March 2009, another influenza pandemic caused by a different virus did arrive, and it was nothing like the lethal one we expected. This particular H1N1 virus generated a pandemic with the lowest case mortality rate of any known outbreak in history. Nothing the world did accounted for the low death toll; it was sim- ply luck that this pandemic virus had low lethality. The World Health Organization counts fewer than 20,000 dead worldwide, but that’s only laboratory-confirmed cases. It is im- possible to know whether actual mortality was
Background image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
Image of page 2
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

This note was uploaded on 02/01/2012 for the course POLS 494 taught by Professor Garymoncrief during the Fall '11 term at Boise State.

Page1 / 3

f_0020448_17210 - Summer '10 UP FRONT-FINAL0618:Summer...

This preview shows document pages 1 - 2. Sign up to view the full document.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Ask a homework question - tutors are online