HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Concordia University School of Law

Monday, February 28, 2005

More on Avian Flu Risk

NPR's Diane Rehm show had a very good program this morning on the avian flu situation.  Guests included Dr. Nancy Cox, chief of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention influenza branch, and director of the World Health Organization's Collaborative Center for Influenza Reference and Research; Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases/NIH; and Mei Fong, staff reporter of The Wall Street Journal.  They reiterated the major risk factors discussed in this week's New Yorker piece by Michael Specter -- i.e., that a "perfect storm" scenario for a world-wide pandemic requires three things: (1) a virus that is capable of crossing over from one animal species to man (this has already been established); (2) the virus must be one that is not simply benign in a human host (ditto: the human death rate for this virus appears to be 70-76%); and (3) the virus must mutate into a form that is capable of efficient transmission (i.e., by shaking hands, sneezing, coughing, etc.).  This third factor is the still an open question.  Dr. Fauci, in particular, provided a useful perspective on the array of possible public-health responses to the appearance of avian flu in this country, should that occur.

Meanwhile, for those of us who could benefit from a public-health law refresher, the CDC has a useful public health law site and has recently concluded a 27-week series on basic public health law readings that I can strongly recommend.  Here's the list:

  • Epilogue: "Redefining Public Health," a speech by William H. Foege, MD, MPH
  • Reading No. 26:  Revision of the World Health Organization's International Health Regulations, by David P. Fidler
  • Reading No. 25:  Illinois House Bill 5164 (2004)
  • Reading No. 24:  The Draft Model State Emergency Health Powers Act (December 21, 2001)
  • Reading No. 23:  Chapter 10:  "Legal Authorities for Interventions During Public Health Emergencies"
  • Reading No. 22:  Louisiana v. Gamberella  (1993)
  • Reading No. 21:  Food and Drug Administration v. Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp.  (2000)
  • Reading No. 20:  Queenside Hills Realty Co., Inc. v. Saxl
  • Reading No. 19:  McCarthy v. Boozman  (2002)
  • Reading No. 18:  Brown v. Stone  (1979)
  • Reading No. 17:  New York v. New St. Mark's Baths  (1986)
  • Reading No. 16:  "The Path of the Law," by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. (1897)
  • Reading No. 15:  Camara v. Municipal Court  (1967)
  • Reading No. 14:  Altman v. City of High Point  (2003)
  • Reading No. 13:  Jew Ho v. Williamson (1900)
  • Reading No. 12:  In re Halko (1966)
  • Reading No. 11:  People v. Strautz
  • Reading No. 10: Benning v. State of Vermont, 161 Vt. 472; 641 A.2d 757(1994)
  • Reading No. 9:  State of Iowa v. Hartog, 440 N.W.2d 852 (1989)
  • Reading No. 8:  Bill of Rights, New Hampshire Constitution
  • Reading No. 7:  Lorillard Tobacco Co. v. Reilly
  • Reading No. 6:  Wisconsin Statutes Chapter 250, Health: Administration and Supervision
  • Reading No. 5:  Pelman v. McDonald's Corp., No. 02 Civ. 7821 (S.D.N.Y. 2003)
  • Reading No. 4:  Chapter 1: "The Law and the Public's Health: The Foundations"
  • Reading No. 3:  Chapter One of " Public Health Law (3rd Edition) " (1947) by James A. Tobey
  • Reading No. 2:  Jacobson v. Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 197 U.S. 11 (1905)
  • Reading No. 1:  The United States Constitution


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