global health | April 23, 2013

Is This “The Big One”? Health Speaker Laurie Garrett On The Bird Flu In China

In a major Foreign Policy article—“The Big One?”—global health speaker and Pulitzer Prize winner Laurie Garrett provides an urgent overview of the Bird Flu in China. In full-on investigative mode, she searches out answers to the big questions: Is the Chinese government, which mishandled SARS ten years ago, getting it right this time? Is there a cover-up going on? How are surrounding countries (and the world) preparing for a possible outbreak? And, what will be the human, economic, and political fallout if the H7N9 flu—as it’s known—is not quickly contained? In Foreign Policy, Garrett provides detailed background on H7N9, such as where it came from, and where it's spreading to, and how. She deftly captures the intersection of science, government, public relations, human nature, and the media to provide a gripping account of what’s going on, and what may happen next. Here’s Garrett, putting things into perspective:

We are at a mysterious fork in the road. One path leads to years, perhaps decades, of spread of a new type of influenza, occasionally making people sick and killing about 18 percent of them. It's not a pleasant route, strewn as it is with uncertainties, but no terror seems to lurk on its horizon. The other path, however, wrenches the gut with fear, as it brings worldwide transmission of a dangerous new form of flu that could spread unchecked throughout humanity, testing global solidarity, vaccine production, hospital systems and humanity's most basic family and community instincts. 

Garrett is the only journalist to ever win the three P's of journalism: The Polk, the Peabody, and the Pulitzer. She’s a deeply respected writer on issues surrounding global health, and is virtually indispensible as a source for credible news around the time of potential global pandemics. To read Garrett’s long essay, click here. And for up-to-the minute updates, try her lively Twitter account: @Laurie_Garrett.

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