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

Info icon This 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 10 or even 100 times that number.
Image of page 1

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

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

{[ snackBarMessage ]}

What students are saying

  • Left Quote Icon

    As a current student on this bumpy collegiate pathway, I stumbled upon Course Hero, where I can find study resources for nearly all my courses, get online help from tutors 24/7, and even share my old projects, papers, and lecture notes with other students.

    Student Picture

    Kiran Temple University Fox School of Business ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    I cannot even describe how much Course Hero helped me this summer. It’s truly become something I can always rely on and help me. In the end, I was not only able to survive summer classes, but I was able to thrive thanks to Course Hero.

    Student Picture

    Dana University of Pennsylvania ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    The ability to access any university’s resources through Course Hero proved invaluable in my case. I was behind on Tulane coursework and actually used UCLA’s materials to help me move forward and get everything together on time.

    Student Picture

    Jill Tulane University ‘16, Course Hero Intern