FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Friday, October 29, 2004

Deadly Flu Epidemic On The Way?

Not to frighten anybody, but the head of the Russian Virology Institute is predicting a major worldwide bird-flu pandemic this season, with fatalities numbering in the billions.

" 'Up to one billion people could die around the whole world in six months,' [Dmitry] Lvov said. The expert did not give a timeframe for the epidemic, but said that it is highly probable that it will start this year. 'We are half a step away from a worldwide pandemic catastrophe.' "

Lvov believes that up to 700,000 Americans could die in such an outbreak. He is also urging Russian authorities to prepare for the epidemic by reserving hospital beds.

Lvov has not provided many further details, and the credibility of this prediction remains unclear. It's interesting that he took pains to mention American fatalities, perhaps playing into concerns over the recent flu vaccine shortage here.

Source: Minding the Planet