Pandemic policy experts: 'It's just a matter of when.'

COLLEGE STATION, Tex. (KBTX) - "A pandemic will happen," said Andrew Natsios, director of the Scowcroft Institute at the Texas A&M Bush School of Government and Public Service. "It's just a matter of when."

That is the message from Scowcroft's Pandemic and Biosecurity Policy Center, and it's a message researchers are spreading and studying at a public conference Oct. 16.

"What we learn at these conferences directly affects public policy," said Gerald Parker, director of the Pandemic and Biosecurity Policy Center.

Parker and Natsios agree that this pending pandemic would likely be influenza, as pandemics have been in the past. Natsios points out that 80,000 people died from the flu just last flu season.

"And still, people don't get their flu shots," said Natsios. He says that on an individual level, that's what families can do to protect themselves and others.

Then, on the policy level, Parker says it's all about coordination.

"Working on all levels of government--from federal to local--to respond to these threats," said Parker.

All of these issues will be addressed at the 4yj Annual Pandemic Policy Summit on Oct. 16 at the Annenberg Presidential Conference Center. This event is open to the public. See the Related Links to register or find out more.