Since it first emerged eight years ago, avian influenza has only infected 109 people but 59 of them died. Some experts are warning that if the virus learns to jump from human-to-human, the world could face a pandemic unlike anything in history.
While health officials have long predicted an influenza strain capable of killing millions, no one can say if, or when, it might occur. Such a virus could also be more dangerous today than ever before, with the ease of global travel and the scope of world-wide trade.
Others argue that the economic consequences of such a pandemic could be even more explosive, moving quicker than the virus itself, and that says nothing about questions of national security and government instability. While scientists and government officials ask the what if questions — we get the latest on Avian flu.
Laurie Garrett, Senior Fellow for Global Health at the Council on Foreign Relations
Steve Aldrich, president of Bio-era, a bio-economic research firm
Martin Gilbert, Field Veterinarian responsible for Cambodia and South East Asia for the Wildlife Conservation Society