Brits Warn of Devastating Pandemic

World ill-prepared for massive outbreak
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 21, 2008 9:26 AM CDT
Brits Warn of Devastating Pandemic
Indonesian health official holds a duck for a test during bird flu drill in Jembrana, Indonesia Friday, April 25, 2008. A British report warns that the world isn't prepared for a true pandemic.   (AP Photo/Firdia Lisnawati)

The world is in danger of losing up to 50 million people to an "inevitable" flu pandemic, and global response agencies aren't ready for such a test, the British government warns. A report rates early-warning systems as "poorly coordinated" and calls for an overhaul of the World Health Organization, reports the Independent.

"Globally, there has been massive attention to the threat from terrorism and rightly so. But the potential for loss of life from a pandemic is massive, enormous," said one politician. And yet, "we see a chaotic, uncoordinated, and incoherent international response to it." A spokeswoman for Britain's Department of Health agreed that "more clearly needs to be done." (More pandemic stories.)

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