Congressman Burgess Warns Swine Flu Could Be 1918 All Over Again

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This is a rush transcript from "Your World With Neil Cavuto," May 18, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Well, meanwhile, swine flu is off the front pages. Interest is still fading, even, as Rick pointed out, the disease itself seems to be spreading, and that has Texas Congressman and Dr. Michael Burgess worrying about history potentially repeating itself.

Congressman, there are a lot of folks, smart folks like yourself, who have examined the 1918 flu that killed millions across the globe. It started out this way, innocently enough, sort of seemed to go dormant, and then came back with a vengeance.

That was then. Is this now?

REP. MICHAEL BURGESS (R), TEXAS: Well, of course, that's the great unknown. And one of the dangers is we become complacent because all of the rather robust headlines from a few weeks ago have now kind of faded into the distance. But as the story out of New York reminds us today, and I think we've had three deaths back in my home state of Texas, a very serious illness. And if it re-emerges after some further modification with perhaps mixing with the season flu virus this fall, there could be serious implications for this country and, in fact, worldwide.

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CAVUTO: Are we ready for a disease that would potentially — if you're right, and I have no reason to assume you're not — mutates?

BURGESS: What — what this country went through in the end of 2005 with the fear of the avian influenza — remember, we were all concerned that at some point this rather robust virus would go from human to human as easily as it went from chicken to chicken. That day never occurred.

But in preparation for that day, now a lot of the pieces are in place that could — that could certainly help forestall a serious worldwide pandemic this time around. We didn't have antivirals, or they didn't have antivirals back in 1918. We've got now a national stockpile of antivirals that are available.

Now, will the virus mutate and not be — and not be susceptible? That's anyone's guess, and there's just a lot of unknowns out there.

CAVUTO: All right. Congressman, thank you for this breaking news and your patience. Thank you very much.

BURGESS: Thank you.

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