John G. Bartlett, MD
Potential Financial Conflicts of Interest: None disclosed.
Requests for Single Reprints: John G. Bartlett, MD, John Hopkins University School of Medicine, 1830 East Monument Street, Room 439, Baltimore, MD 21205; e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Avian influenza, or influenza A (H5N1), has 3 of the 4 properties necessary to cause a serious pandemic: It can infect people, nearly all people are immunologically naive, and it is highly lethal. The Achilles heel of the virus is the lack of sustained human–human transmission. Fortunately, among the 124 cases reported through 30 May 2006, nearly all were acquired by direct contact with poultry. Unfortunately, the capability for efficient human–human transmission requires only a single mutation by a virus that is notoriously genetically unstable, hence the need for a new vaccine each year for seasonal influenza. Influenza A (H5N1) is being compared to another avian strain, the agent of the “Spanish flu” of 1918–1919, which traversed the world in 3 months and caused an estimated 50 million deaths. The question is, are we ready for this type of pandemic? The answer is probably no. The main problems are the lack of an effective vaccine, very poor surge capacity, a health care system that could not accommodate even a modest pandemic, and erratic regional planning. It's time to get ready, and in the process be ready for bioterrorism, natural disasters, and epidemics of other infectious diseases.
The In the Clinic® slide sets are owned and copyrighted by the American College of Physicians (ACP). All text, graphics, trademarks, and other intellectual property incorporated into the slide sets remain the sole and exclusive property of the ACP. The slide sets may be used only by the person who downloads or purchases them and only for the purpose of presenting them during not-for-profit educational activities. Users may incorporate the entire slide set or selected individual slides into their own teaching presentations but may not alter the content of the slides in any way or remove the ACP copyright notice. Users may make print copies for use as hand-outs for the audience the user is personally addressing but may not otherwise reproduce or distribute the slides by any means or media, including but not limited to sending them as e-mail attachments, posting them on Internet or Intranet sites, publishing them in meeting proceedings, or making them available for sale or distribution in any unauthorized form, without the express written permission of the ACP. Unauthorized use of the In the Clinic slide sets will constitute copyright infringement.
Bartlett JG. Planning for Avian Influenza. Ann Intern Med. 2006;145:141–144. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-145-2-200607180-00133
Download citation file:
Published: Ann Intern Med. 2006;145(2):141-144.
Infectious Disease, Influenza, Prevention/Screening, Pulmonary/Critical Care.
Results provided by:
Copyright © 2017 American College of Physicians. All Rights Reserved.
Print ISSN: 0003-4819 | Online ISSN: 1539-3704
Conditions of Use
This PDF is available to Subscribers Only