Wednesday, June 22, 2005
mario pischedda, non siamo che fantasmi
larger image here
Dating back to antiquity, influenza pandemics have posed the greatest threat of a worldwide calamity caused by infectious disease. Over the past 300 years, ten influenza pandemics have occurred among humans. The most recent came in 1957-58 and 1968-69, and although several tens of thousands of Americans died in each one, these were considered mild compared to others. The 1918-19 pandemic was not. According to recent analysis, it killed 50 to 100 million people globally. Today, with a population of 6.5 billion, more than three times that of 1918, even a "mild" pandemic could kill many millions of people.
A number of recent events and factors have significantly heightened concern that a specific near-term pandemic may be imminent. It could be caused by H5N1, the avian influenza strain currently circulating in Asia. At this juncture scientists cannot be certain. Nor can they know exactly when a pandemic will hit, or whether it will rival the experience of 1918-19 or be more muted like 1957-58 and 1968-69. The reality of a coming pandemic, however, cannot be avoided. Only its impact can be lessened. Some important preparatory efforts are under way, but much more needs to be done by institutions at many levels of society.
Widespread infection and economic collapse can destabilize a government; blame for failing to deal effectively with a pandemic can cripple a government [also a global multilateral government]. This holds even more for an influenza pandemic.
What should the industrialized world be doing to prepare for the next pandemic?
[epidemiC], bocconi brand virus (in italiano)
intanto si infettano 40 milioni di carte di credito...
The pandemic-related collapse of worldwide trade and its ripple effect throughout industrialized and developing countries would represent the first real test of the resiliency of the modern global delivery system. Given the extent to which modern commerce relies on the precise and readily available international trade of goods and services, a shutdown of the global economic system would dramatically harm the world's ability to meet the surging demand for essential commodities such as food and medicine during a crisis. The business community can no longer afford to play a minor role in planning the response to a pandemic. For the world to have critical goods and services during a pandemic, industry heads must stockpile raw materials for production and preplan distribution and transportation support. Every company's senior managers need to be ready to respond rapidly to changes in the availability, production, distribution, and inventory management of their products. There is no model for how to revive the current global economy were it to be devastated.
To truly be complete, all planning on international, regional, national, and local levels must consider three different scenarios: What if the pandemic begins tonight? What if it starts one year from now? What if the world is so fortunate as to have an entire decade to prepare? All are possible, but none is certain.
(...)In short order, the global economy would shut down. The commodities and services countries would need to "survive" the next 12 to 36 months would have to be identified. Currently, most businesses' continuity plans account for only a localized disruption -- a single plant closure, for instance -- and have not planned for extensive, long-term outages.
Other unpleasant issues would also need to be tackled. Who would have priority access to the extremely limited antiviral supplies? The public would consider any ad hoc prioritization unfair, creating further dissent and disruption during a pandemic. In addition, there would not even be detailed plans for handling the massive number of dead bodies that would soon outstrip the ability to process them. Clearly, an influenza pandemic that struck today would demand an unprecedented medical and nonmedical response. This requires planning well beyond anything devised thus far by any of the world's countries and organizations.
[linucs describes this as a recurrent topic too]
tartito da ---gallizio
in the foreign closed affairs era