The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is preparing for a worldwide outbreak of avian flu as early as next year, CDC head Dr. Julie Gerberding said this week. The flu jumped from chickens to humans in Hong Kong, in 1997, and since then dozens have been infected, and most have died. A similar pattern probably occurred prior to 1918, Gerberding said. This is a very ominous situation for the globe. The 1918 flu, which also began in Asian birds, killed some 30 million people worldwide. The U.S. government is working on a vaccine, but Gerberding said the flu could mutate into a form easily spread among humans before enough doses have been prepared.