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Avian Flu Fears24:43
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photoThere's a chill in the early autumn air, and Americans are bracing, as usual, for flu season. But this year, there's a new strain on the public mind: avian influenza or bird flu. Infectious disease experts and public health officials are warning that if bird flu mutates for human-to-human infection, millions could die.

In the hundred-plus instances already of the virus jumping from birds to humans in Asia, the death rate is over fifty percent. A human outbreak may never come, but it could, and quickly.

American readiness is a big question mark. There is no proven vaccine. Therapeutic drugs are in woefully short supply. President Bush has said he wants the military ready to quarantine whole parts of the United States.

Hear about getting real about the avian flu threat, and the now sharp warnings of a pandemic that could kill millions.

Guests:

Tim Johnston, reporter for the BBC, who's been following the avian flu story from its area of origin in Southeast Asia;
John Treanor, Associate Professor of Medicine, Microbiology and Immunology at The University of Rochester Medical School, conducting clinical trials of avian flu vaccine

William Schaffner, Chairman of the Department of Preventive Medicine in the Division of infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine

This program aired on October 5, 2005.

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