Federal officials say a bird flu pandemic in the United States is inevitable — but it’s hard to predict how hard and how long such a pandemic would last. Julie Gerberding is the director of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. She says one of the things about influenza is that it’s unpredictable.
Gerberding says the bird flu isn’t any different from the garden variety outbreak. Gerberding says they can’t predict when an outbreak of a seasonal flu will start or end and says they have even less certainty about a pandemic. Gerberding says there is some limited information on pandemics.
Past pandemics have tended to occur in waves where each wave strikes a community and for six to eight weeks and then subsides, but she says there’s really no way to know. Gerberding says the one thing we have in our favor is as we build our vaccine and antiviral stockpiles, we can reduce the harm that the pandemic causes. Gerberding talked about the bird flu at a planning summit on the issue Friday in Des Moines.