Epidemiologists are warning that a major flu pandemic is on the horizon and that it will infect as much as 30 percent of the world’s population. Consequently, a four stage preparedness plan is being developed through coordination of various governments, health experts and health organizations throughout the world. The components of the plan include surveillance, vaccines, containment and treatment. Current surveillance methods lack consistent communication processes across relevant areas.
Therefore, the World Organization for Animal Health has appealed for additional funding to support programs and coordination with the Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Health Organization. It is believed that through this increased coordination, flu strains can be better understood. Consequently, it is believed that the number of people affected will be reduced. With the current strategies for vaccine development, when the pandemic hits, vaccine producing facilities have acknowledged that, for a number of reasons, it will be impossible to produce enough vaccine for all who are in need.
However, experimentation with the use of new immune building substances and different means of administering the vaccine, the ability to vaccinate more people may come into existence. Because it has such a short incubation period, flu moves with extraordinary speed. Therefore, containment efforts must be exceedingly swift. The speed at which an infected person begins shedding contagious virus particles also is a major factor that may inhibit effective containment. Although scientists are aware that the pandemic is imminent, there is very little optimism in the scientific community for adequate containment.
Public health specialists speculate that 15 to 35 percent of the world population will be attacked in the pandemic. No country is prepared to provide adequate treatment. In America alone, it is speculated that 4.7 million people will fall sick. There are fewer than one million staffed hospital beds in America. On the brighter side, medicines are becoming more advance and more available than ever before. The central premise in minimizing the effects of the pandemic is to remain diligent.