Avian Influenza H5N1: International Preparedness against a Future Influenza Pandemic
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“We had three pandemics in the last century – there is no reason to believe there won’t be one in this century.” (123 p. 404) These words of Dr. Klaus Stöhr, coordinator of the Global Influenza Programme (GIP) at WHO from 2001 to 2006, expressed the position of the organization’s leaders regarding the risk of a human influenza pandemic. The poultry outbreaks in different Asian countries, the occurrence of human cases, and the international spread of the disease raised concerns in the worldwide health community from 2004 to 2005. Compared to the SARS disease, an influenza pandemic could multiply the casualties, as well as put pressure on health systems for a longer period of time and generate significant social disruptions and enormous economic costs.