Large catastrophes have caused the collapse of empires and civilisations.1 Science and knowledge may help prevent some catastrophes, but urbanisation and narrowly concentrated food supplies, climate change and terrorism contribute to considerable risk. Viruses responsible for severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and avian influenza A (H5N1) or “bird flu” are among the most immediately identifiable risks. The World Health Organization has stated that the risk scenario associated with an outbreak of pandemic H5N1 influenza should be considered more serious than was previously assumed.2
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- 3. Duerr HP, Brockmann SO, Piechotowski I, et al. Influenza pandemic intervention planning using InfluSim: pharmaceutical and nonpharmaceutical interventions. BMC Infect Dis 2007; 7: 76-90.
- 4. Chiang JC, Koutavas A. Climate change: tropical flip-flop connections. Nature 2004; 432: 684-685.
- 5. Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing, National Health and Medical Research Council, New Zealand Ministry of Health. Nutrient reference values for Australia and New Zealand including recommended dietary intakes. Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia, 2006. http://www.nhmrc.gov.au/publications/synopses/_files/n35.pdf (accessed Jun 2007).
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