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84 Foreign Aff. 3 (2005)
The Next Pandemic

handle is hein.journals/fora84 and id is 559 raw text is: 

        The Next Pandemic?

                     Laurie Garrett

                     PROBABLE CAUSE
SCI ENTI ST S HAVE long forecast the appearance of an influenza virus
capable of infecting 40 percent of the world's human population
and killing unimaginable numbers. Recently, a new strain, H5N1 avian
influenza, has shown all the earmarks of becoming that disease. Until
now, it has largely been confined to certain bird species, but that
may be changing.
   The havoc such a disease could wreak is commonly compared
to the devastation of the 1918-19 Spanish flu, which killed 50 million
people in 18 months. But avian flu is far more dangerous. It kills
loo percent of the domesticated chickens it infects, and among humans
the disease is also lethal: as of May i, about 1o9 people were known
to have contracted it, and it killed 54 percent (although this statistic
does not include any milder cases that may have gone unreported).
Since it first appeared in southern China in 1997, the virus has mutated,
becoming heartier and deadlier and killing a wider range of species.
According to the March 2005 National Academy of Science's Institute
of Medicine flu report, the current ongoing epidemic of H5N1 avian
influenza in Asia is unprecedented in its scale, in its spread, and in the
economic losses it has caused.
   In short, doom may loom. But note the may. If the relentlessly
evolving virus becomes capable of human-to-human transmission,
develops a power of contagion typical of human influenzas, and main-
tains its extraordinary virulence, humanity could well face a pandemic

    LAURIE GARRETT is Senior Fellow for Global Health at the Council
    on Foreign Relations and is the author of The Coming Plague and Betrayal
    of Trust.

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