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Report warns flu pandemic could kill 200,000 in Britain

March 24, 2011

allheadlinenews.com

50 percent of the British population could develop symptoms of the flu pandemic and may cost the British economy $42 million (GBP 28 billion).

A report released Tuesday identifies the outbreak of a new influenza pandemic as one of the greatest threats facing Britain. The U.K. Influenza Pandemic Preparedness Strategy 2011 estimates the number of potential deaths because of a new flu pandemic could be as high as 200,000.

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Aside from the anticipated deaths, the report by the Department of Health said 50 percent of the British population could develop symptoms of the flu pandemic and may cost the British economy $42 million (GBP 28 billion).

The Department of Health also warned of hospitals and doctors being overwhelmed by the high number of patients and deaths by the pandemic, which would likely not be stopped from spreading because it takes months to develop vaccines for new flu strains. The report said the first wave of swine flu that hit different parts of the world two years ago was a very mild version compared to previous pandemics.

The Spanish flu outbreak in 1918-19 took the lives of 50 million people, while the Asian flu pandemic in 1957-58 and the Hong Kong flu in 1967-68 killed 4 million people each.

Other scenarios foreseen by the report include reduced police and armed forces visibility because members of the two groups would also be vulnerable to the ailment.

The 2011 report is not substantially different from the 2007 framework, except for some key changes:

  • Focus on rapid and accurate assessment of the nature of the influenza virus and its effects
  • Put in place plans to ensure a response in proportion to a range of scenarios
  • Emphasize differences in rate and pattern of disease spread across the U.K. and internationally
  • Learn from behavioral scientists people’s thinking, feeling and behavior during an influenza pandemic
  • Craft better plans to manage the recovery phase and preparation for another seasonal flu outbreak.
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