From epidemic to pandemic: A test of the government's response

As the number of confirmed cases of swine flu originating in Mexico continues to rise, officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are on the lookout for the disease to make the jump from epidemic to pandemic.

In a December 2004 article in Government Executive, Katherine McIntire Peters reported on how fears of a global pandemic (at that point, of avian flu) pointed to serious shortcomings in public health officials' ability to respond to influenza outbreaks. "The real worry," she noted, "is a type of influenza for which no vaccine currently exists."

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