Stories about Romania from October, 2005
With recent reports of avian flu in Western Europe, the disease is clearly no longer East Asia's problem. It's a dilemma for the world. Last week I emailed Revere, the pseudonymous leader of Effect Measure, a public health group blog. Since its inception in late 2004, Effect Measure has been covering the global response to avian flu. My goal was to discuss the pandemic fears and what the world -- and ordinary people -- can do to prepare for it. Revere, an environmental epidemiologist in a senior faculty position at a major research university, has 40 years of experience in medicine and public health. He is also one of the individuals behind the Flu Wiki, an Internet-based experiment in community mobilization and knowledge-pooling to face the feared epidemic. He paints an alarming picture. "If a pandemic is going to happen (and we don't know how to predict if it will or not with certainty), it will happen whatever we do," he writes. "There will be no "outside" for help to come from, so each community needs to prepare to cope on its own." In previous flu pandemics, hundreds of thousands of people went sick or died, leading to massive disruptions as workers failed to show up to work and instead surged into ill-equipped and ill-prepared hospitals ill-prepared. Revere sees two big tasks ahead: managing the consequences of a potential pandemic, and building (or rebuilding) the world's rotting public health infrastructure.