In 2001, then-Surgeon General David Satcher issued a landmark statement that obesity had reached epidemic proportions in America. The country began to react, but slowly.

This report examines the progress that has been made to improving America’s ability to respond to health threats and help identify ongoing areas of vulnerability.

Scientists around the globe have been warning about the risk of a potential pandemic influenza outbreak. Pandemic flu is caused by a new, severe strain of the flu virus capable of producing severe disease and spreading rapidly person-to-person worldwide. Unlike the seasonal flu, a pandemic flu virus poses a novel threat since humans would have no previously developed immunity against this new virus strain, putting most people at high risk for infection. This could result in a large percentage of the world’s population being infected by a rapidly spreading virus in a very short period of time.