Avian flu, also known as the H5N1 virus, is a very pathogenic virus that is easily spread between birds. Currently, the greatest fear is that this rapidly mutating virus will evolve into a form that can be spread easily from human to human. This may cause a world-wide pandemic, and in the worst-case scenario, over 150 million humans could be killed!
The bird flu is an enormous problem in and Asia, and is quickly spreading to Europe and Africa. It may even reach North America eventually. Over twenty million birds have already died from the virus and hundreds of millions of domesticated birds have been culled in an effort to stop the spread of the virus. However, the has a completely wrong approach for stopping avian flu.
Currently, the US is preparing for a world-wide bird flu pandemic by throwing billions of dollars at large pharmaceutical companies to develop drugs like Tamiflu that are not effective anyway.
The traditional public health approaches of quarantining affected individuals and culling infected birds have been very effective. The should use its money to sustain these practices in poorer Asian countries such as, which contains millions of birds. Those countries have a weak veterinary infrastructure, and often cases of bird flu are hidden. The needs to stamp out the bird flu at the source. It should compensate Asian farmers for speaking up about suspected cases of bird flu and culling their birds. Only if money is directed to the right place, the source of the virus, will bird flu be wiped out quickly and efficiently.