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Is There Reason to Worry About New "Most Lethal" Bird Flu Strain?

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Politics and Democracy page and our Health Issues page.

 Yep, it's time for yet another pandemic flu drill... " WHO says new bird strain is "one of most lethal" flu viruses," Reuters recently declared.

Every few years, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and related agencies drum up another flu emergency; each promised to be worse than the last, and this year you're likely to start hearing a lot more about "lethal bird flu" again.

What many don't realize is that these agencies actually need these faux flu emergencies to practice - to fine-tune their strategies and test the latest disease surveillance systems.

They also need them to justify their own existence, not to mention growth and expansion. As noted in a recent article by Medical News Today:

"After the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in the U.S. and the potential threat of bioterrorism, many new advanced systems for disease surveillance and notification have been developed and implemented throughout the world.

The goal of these systems is not only to detect a possible biological attack, but to characterize emerging pathogens so that a public health response can be implemented rapidly.


'You can't test these systems on a day-to-day basis,' says... Michael A. Stoto, PhD... 'The only way to test these systems is how they perform in a real public health emergency.'

... 'What really made a difference in 2009 was that people from the US and Mexico talked to each other through a formalized system of communication,' he says. 'I think taxpayers and policymakers want to know if the billions invested after 9-11 to prepare for a biological event is paying off. I think the answer is 'yes.'"





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