Avian Flu Pandemic, Part 1

An outbreak of the Avian flu virus in the United States could infect one-third of the population and kill as many as one-point-nine million people, according to a the department of health and human services.

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The government analysis is part of a plan outlined by President Bush to confront threats from new outbreaks of flu. He's asking Congress for $7.1 billion to prepare for the possibility of a worldwide outbreak of the deadly flu. University of Texas Medical Branch President Dr. John Stobo says UTMB is conducting avian flu research.

UTMB is establishing a national laboratory for research on emerging infections and biodefense on its Galveston campus.

But there is no specific vaccine for avian flu.

Human to human transmission is not possible at this time--it's now spread from poultry to humans--but Dr. Stobo says the virus could mutate. It could spread quickly because of overcrowding in cities, and become a worldwide pandemic because of easy world travel.

Bio photo of Ed Mayberry

Ed Mayberry

Local Anchor, All Things Considered

Ed Mayberry has worked in radio since 1971, with many of those years spent on the rock 'n' roll disc jockey side of the business...