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Avian flu: A focus on the science

Edited excerpts from a lengthy transcript from "The Next Big (Health) Crisis - And How to Cover It," a conference cosponsored by AHCJ at the Nieman Foundation.

In this session, two infectious disease specialists describe and discuss what the scientific community knows about the avian flu virus H5NI and how pandemic influenza might emerge.

Speakers on this topic:

  • Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy and a member of the National Science Advisory Board on Biosecurity. He spoke about how the influenza virus evolves to be pandemic.
  • Marc Lipsitch, professor of epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health. He offered questions to ask when covering the next infectious disease crisis and points out it's possible to report on these topics without being a graduate-trained scientist.