While the 1918-19 pandemic killed 50 to 100 million people around the world, Foreign Affairs relates: "Today, with a world population of 6.5 billion people, more than 3 times that of 1918, even a 'mild' pandemic could kill many millions of people."
Further: "Dr Julie Gerbreeding, Director of the U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, called the possibility of avian flu spreading from Southeast Asia (its likely place of origin) 'a very ominous situation for the globe'" (International Herald Tribune).
Since very early last year millions of birds in Southeast Asia have died. This particular bird flu mutates and jumps from species to species. It has already been found in certain mammals and possibly a few people. Although it has not yet mutated into a form that is easily transmissible to human beings, that possibility is very real and very worrisome.
Infectious diseases remain very high on the list of threats to human life on a large scale. Some 25 million human beings have already died from AIDS, and another estimated 39 million are infected with HIV. Malaria and tuberculosis are also major causes of death.
Among the four horsemen of the book of Revelation is the pale horse, symbolic of devastating disease epidemics to ravage the earth in the end time. The Bible strongly indicates that we have not yet seen the full impact of these deadly modern plagues—far from it. (Sources: The Times [London], International Herald Tribune, Foreign Affairs.)