Avian flu–how much of a threat

I’m seeing articles and conferences and reports everywhere about the very real potential for a flu pandemic. The U.S. government is actually preparing plans that will designate who’s considered essential (and will likely get vaccinated) and who isn’t.

I wouldn’t want to be the person assigned to this task. Here’s the latest thinking of their strategy:

“…instead of giving medicine to first responders and health-care workers, as currently planned, it might be wiser to give the drugs to every person with symptoms and others in the same household.”

The World Health Organization held a conference in Vietnam on what to do about avian flu. Vietnam’s had 37 human cases, 29 of which were fatal. The European Commission banded together with the government of China and the World Bank at an avian flu conference to talk about how to collect money to fight this looming threat.

For more information, recent WHO avian flu statistics here and the CDC Q&A here.

With all these giant organizations collectivizing for the onslaught, it seems reasonable to be concerned. But I am going to hope–pray–that the bird flu will reveal itself as another Chicken Little alarm like the worldwide hullabaloo generated by Y2K fears. Perhaps our finest scientific minds working together on it with such fervor will indeed make it so.