Sunday, June 26, 2005


News has been filtering out of the Far East that the avian flu is still around and affecting humans as well as birds. Influenza experts have been a little freaked out by the possibility of the current strain mutating and becoming dangerously communicable between humans. If that occurs, these same experts fear that we will face a pandemic somewhere between the 1918 and 1968 pandemics in deadliness.

Trust For America's Health issued its report on this problem June 24, 2005. That report (the full report, also in PDF, can be found at the website just linked) finds that the U.S. is woefully underprepared for such a pandemic which could conceivably result in the deaths of over half a million Americans:

Some of the TFAH report’s other findings include:

• While estimates find that over two million Americans may need to be hospitalized during a pandemic outbreak, the U.S. currently only has approximately 965,256 staffed hospital beds.

• The U.S. has not adequately planned for the disruption a flu pandemic could cause to the economy, daily life, food and supply distributions, or homeland security.

• The U.S. lags in pandemic preparations compared to Great Britain and Canada based on an examination of leadership, vaccine development, vaccine and antiviral planning, health care system surge capacity planning, coordination between public and private sectors, and emergency communications planning....

I think it clear that Congress needs to take immediate action in light of this report. I think a good place to start would be an emergency appropriation bill for the CDC not unlike those being given to the military for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. This issue is obviously one of security and defense, so the money should be found.

One of the members of Trust For America's Health will be appearing before the House Government Reform Committee on June 30,2005. I sincerely hope that the members of that House Committee listen seriously to Dr. Hearne and then begin considering ways for us to catch up in this deadly race.


Post a Comment

<< Home