Iowa Public Television


Government Buys Bird Flu Vaccine

posted on September 24, 2004

The U.S. government plans to buy two million doses of an experimental vaccine against the bird flu to stockpile in case the virus one day sparks a large outbreak in people.

The $13 million purchase from Aventis Pasteur Inc., is part of the work to prepare for the next flu pandemic, the Department of Health and Human Services said this week.

Three flu pandemics have occurred in the past century, the worst being the 1918 outbreak that killed more than half a million Americans and 20 million people worldwide.

Flu specialists say it's only a matter of time before another worldwide outbreak strikes, and there's concern that the recurring bird flu in Asia could be the trigger if it were to mutate to spread more easily among humans.

Tags: animals birds diseases government influenza news vaccines