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Why Prepare for a Bird Flu Pandemic?

According to the CDC Pandemic influenza doctrine preparedness greatly reduces the impact of a pandemicGovernments, health care organizations such as WHO, and the CDC are preparing for the eventual pandemic. Even with all their preparation it is clear the preparation will not be sufficient for a Bird Flu Pandemic.

These agencies are recommending that you prepare for a Bird Flu Pandemic. Michael Levitt the Secretary of Health and Human services has been out spoken on this, "communities have an essential responsibility in pandemic preparedness." He has also made it clear "Flu Pandemic preparation will save lives".

What the experts are saying:

"It's the most dangerous influenza virus that I've ever seen." Richard G. Webster, Chair Infectious Diseases, and Director WHO Flu Laboratory, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn.

A bird flu pandemic could occur anytime"It is not if it [avian flu] is going to happen, it is when, and where, and how bad," Michael Osterholm, head of the University of Minnesota's Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy.

"Society just can't accept the idea that 50 percent of the population could die. And I think we have to face that possibility." Robert G. Webster, is one of the world's leading infectious disease experts and has been credited with being the first to discover the link between bird flu and human flu.

"Even now, there is little to no excess capacity to absorb more patients, but when pandemic flu arrives there will be a tidal wave of patients arriving in clinics and ERs nationwide. If it happens tomorrow, the system will collapse." Dr. James A. Wilde, Department of Emergency Medicine, Medical College of Georgia.

"Once human-to-human transmission has been established, we will have only a few weeks to lock down the spread before it spins out of control." Kofi Annan, UN Secretary General.

"The H5N1 virus has taken on some nasty characteristics since it was first seen in 1996 in southern China. Human-to-human transmission is the only thing that it has yet to learn," Richard Webster, Director of the World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Laboratory the worlds only lab designed to study flu at the animal-human interface.