Is yesterday's swine flu today's bird flu?

US - A newly mutated flu virus infects a man in New Jersey, and he dies within a day. Health officials fear that the general public has no immunity to this new strain and predict a severe pandemic on the order of the 1918 "Spanish flu."

The president holds a news conference and recommends that all Americans be inoculated.

This scenario reads like something from our near future. Experts predict that the bird flu virus might hit our shores within a year. In fact, it's a news flash from three decades ago.

The events of the so-called swine flu in the USA seem hauntingly familiar to those of us who are focused on the current bird flu, and they can serve as a useful guide on what to do now and - perhaps as important - what not to do.

Despite the fact that H5N1 - the bird flu virus - remains essentially a bird disease, Anthony Fauci, esteemed director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, has spoken of the need to make more than 100 million doses of a vaccine for H5N1 available to Americans.

Source: USA Today
calendar icon 23 March 2006
clock icon 1 minute read
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