From the BBC These little buggers ride in first class, coach, they don't care, of any airplane. So they might have well said "Global". Excert (Whatever knowledge, technology and skills we develop, eventually it's the policy makers and the politicians that decide what is going to happen) This may be telling us to go out and vote here in the states. Government+control+greed+experimentation=disease. EDITIONS Change to UK Saturday, 2 November, 2002, 00:04 GMT Killer flu 'on the way' A gene shift could make flu more powerful Experts say governments across Europe need to plan for a virulent flu outbreak that could claim hundreds of thousands of lives. Although the last two winters have brought only mild strains of flu to the UK, the viruses are constantly mutating and scientists say it is only a matter of time before a powerful strain emerges. Whatever knowledge, technology and skills we develop, eventually it's the policy makers and the politicians that decide what is going to happen Professor Albert Osterhaus, Erasmus University While it may not be as damaging as the 1918 "Spanish flu" that killed tens of millions in Europe alone, they say that the continent is not ready to cope with another pandemic. This "superflu" is caused by an influenza virus, but its fatality rate is more reminiscent of lethal haemorrhagic fevers such as Ebola. Previous versions, including the Spanish flu, had mutated into a form which the human immune system could not tackle. It is possible that, at any time, the virus could mutate again and produce a strain that could share many of these lethal genetic characteristics. Strategies Virologists from throughout Europe are meeting in Malta this week to discuss the best strategy for first predicting, and then handling a major outbreak. Albert Osterhaus, a professor of virology at Erasmus Univeristy in Rotterdam, said: "Whatever knowledge, technology and skills we develop, eventually it's the policy makers and the politicians that decide what is going to happen." European citizens will expect everything possible to have been done at every level of public authority Robert Coleman, European Commission Some experts have been looking at the genetic structure of the virus which caused the 1918 pandemic, as well as a serious outbreak in Hong Kong in 1997 for clues which may help doctors combat such an outbreak. There were three flu pandemics in the last century, in 1918, 1957 and 1968. Even though the 1957 and 1968 outbreaks were less severe than the Spanish flu, they still accounted for 40m deaths between them. Overdue attack Researchers suggest that an approximate 30 year cycle between pandemics means we are well overdue for another one. Robert Coleman, the director general of health and consumer protection at the European Commission, said: "The action we take now will determine how well we combat the next major influenza threat we will face. "European citizens will expect everything possible to have been done at every level of public authority. "It will be several months at least after the start of the pandemic before a vaccine is available. "Antiviral drugs could help during this period, but stockpiles would need to be in place well in advance. This is not yet the case."