"Pandemic influenza is once again on the radar of the public health community. For most people, the destruction and upheaval caused by the 1918-19 flu pandemic is an obscure historical event, but the 2003 SARS epidemic and the smoldering H5N1 avian influenza epizootic in Asia have renewed interest in a flu pandemic and brought dire predictions of its imminent recurrence. At the same time, most of us in public health would like to avoid a repeat of 1976, when ominous forecasting about swine flu led to public anxiety, expenditure on mass vaccination, and embarrassment when the pandemic never materialized. So just how real a possibility is a worldwide crisis caused by a flu pandemic, and what can be done to prepare? Despite causing 36,000 deaths in a routine US winter, in the public consciousness flu remains an inaccurate name for the common cold and not something to be feared."
2005 University of Washington School of Public Health and Community Medicine
Northwest Public Health: http://www.nwpublichealth.org/
Northwest Public Health (Fall/Winter 2005) v.22 no.5