Preparing for Pandemic Flu: Hearing Before the Special Committee on Aging, United States Senate, One Hundred Ninth Congress, May 25, 2006   [open pdf - 2MB]

From the opening statement of Gordon Smith: "We have heard a great deal in the last several years about emergency planning and response. The tragedies of September 11 and Hurricanes Katrina and Rita showed us all just how vulnerable we can be to both man-made and natural disasters. Applying the lessons we learned from the past, we move forward with preparing to address the potential threats of tomorrow. While much may still be unknown about those threats, more and more indicators suggest that we may soon face a pandemic outbreak of a new influenza virus. One does not have to look far back into history to see how devastating a severe pandemic flu can be to our society. In 1918, Spanish flu killed an estimated 2 percent of the world's population, mainly the young and the healthy. The milder Hong Kong flu outbreak in 1968 killed 34,000 in the U.S. alone, and caused between $71 and $166 billion in economic losses. We have been fortunate not to experience a catastrophic flu outbreak for many decades, but the emergence of the highly aggressive avian flu virus in the late 1990's has generated a sense of urgency among the world's public health officials. Just this week, a case of human-to-human transmission of the avian flu virus was reported in Indonesia. Reports such as these suggest that the next severe influenza outbreak could be looming on the horizon. In response to this threat, the United States has undertaken a significant effort to prepare for the next pandemic. Just recently, the Homeland Security Council released a lengthy pandemic influenza implementation plan. This report provides broad directives for all sectors of our society to follow in order to effectively prepare for the next flu outbreak." Statements, letters, and materials submitted for the record include those of the following: Gordon Smith, Herb Kohl, Michael O. Leavitt, Nancy Donegan, J. Steven Cline, and Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Report Number:
S. Hrg. 109-604; Senate Hearing 109-604; Serial No. 109-24
Public Domain
Retrieved From:
Government Printing Office, Congressional Hearings: http://www.gpoaccess.gov/chearings/index.html
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