Tourism Ups Florida's Risk of Bird Flu

Bird Flu

The latest threat from avian flu isn't the first and likely won't be the last. The so-called Spanish Flu was found to have been transmitted by birds. It killed 40 million people in the developed world alone, helping to end World War I.

And as many as half of all humans, who get infected, could die. That's the bottom line from Dr. John Sinnott, director of the Division of Infectious Diseases and International Medicine at the University of South Florida.

He said Florida is particularly at risk, because of the great numbers of people who travel here from overseas.

SINNOTT: It's a convergence issue of too many people and a lot of travel, but those causes are right here in Florida. We're a tourist center, we're a trans-shipment center. Things get shipped to Florida. We have a huge agriculture industry.

Dr. Sinnott told the Leadership Tampa Alumni Group that a recent World Bank study indicated the economic impact of just a modest epidemic would be $800 billion dollars.

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