Preparing for the Next Pandemic

Periodic influenza outbreaks over the past few centuries have resulted in high mortality and enormous damage. Unfortunately, according to Dr. Michael T. Osterholm, the world is still grossly under-prepared to cope with such pandemics. Recent concerns over the possibility of a large avian flu outbreak mean that this global lack of response capability to public health crises is an urgent problem. Flu vaccines remain difficult to produce in large quantities, governments are not investing enough in emergency plans for public health threats, and the public – including many health professionals – remains undereducated about how to act in the event of a crisis. If a significant outbreak were to occur soon, the result would likely be a complete freeze in global travel and trade, mass panic, and many fatalities. According to Osterholm, increased investments in public health will help to ensure that the newest global disease threat can be contained. – YaleGlobal

Preparing for the Next Pandemic

Michael T. Osterholm, Ph.D, M.P.H.
Thursday, May 5, 2005

Click here for the report on The New England Journal of Medicine's website.

Dr. Osterholm is the director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, the associate director of the National Center for Food Protection and Defense, and a professor of public health at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.

© 2005 Massachusetts Medical Society