Saturday, October 22, 2005

On a wing and a scare

Bird flu is once again the topic of the week, so much so that even The Economist felt it necessary to weigh in with a big overview. I put together a long piece in the science section, with contributions from quite a few staff and foreign correspondents. Apart from the broad science overview, it also contains interesting material on pandemic economics and how businesses are preparing. The package made the cover in Asia (see picture right).

In a flap
Oct 20th 2005
From The Economist print edition
Alarm over bird flu has focused attention on preparing for a human version

HOWEVER much fear there is over bird flu spreading in Asia and Europe, at present the disease tends to make birds sick and not humans. This may change, and some countries are preparing for a pandemic of human influenza. This is wise, given the huge costs of having a significant fraction of the workforce off sick or nursing relatives. But the best way of preventing a human pandemic might be to monitor and limit the spread of bird flu...

I also worked on story coverage in our daily website, Global Agenda.

The spreading bird-flu menace reaches Europe

Oct 20th 2005
From The Economist Global Agenda
European countries are taking emergency measures to contain the spread of a deadly strain of bird flu—which has already led to the deaths of millions of birds and over 60 people in Asia—after its arrival in Russia, Romania, Turkey and possibly Greece. The disease is a serious threat to the world’s sizeable poultry industry but its spread round the globe also increases the chances of it mutating into a form that causes a human pandemic

Finally, we had an opinion piece in the leader section. This was mostly the work of more senior staff.

On a wing and a scare (subscription only)
Oct 20th 2005
Preparing for an influenza pandemic makes sense. Panic doesn't