In new evidence presented to a House of Lords committee in July, the UK government has warned that 50 million people could die as a result of failing to act against a possible global flu pandemic.
Increased globalisation and changes in lifestyles were blamed for giving rise to new infections and allowing them to quickly spread. Rapid detection and accurate diagnoses were described as key factors in halting any future outbreaks both within a country’s borders and beyond.
Preceding these findings, Dr Anantham and colleagues published a review article in Critical Care in June, describing the obligations placed upon healthcare professionals in light of a possible pandemic. Seemingly mirroring the government’s stance, the authors of the review warn against the consequences of a weak response to this threat, particularly by physicians.
Clinical review: Influenza pandemic – physicians and their obligations
Devanand Anantham, Wendy McHugh, Stephen O’Neill, Lachlan Forrow
Critical Care 2008, 12:217 (24 June 2008)
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In-house Editor, Critical Care