Is there a minor trend away from the hysteria? Forbes now:

As the Bush administration puts the final touches on a massive response plan for a potential avian flu pandemic, experts — including top-level administration officials — are predicting that if and when the avian flu reaches American shores, it’s not likely to be the disaster most once feared. "It is impossible to predict whether we’re going to have an H5N1 [the current strain of avian flu] pandemic and, if so, how severe it’s going to be," Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told HealthDay. …

That sentiment was echoed by Dr. Julie Gerberding, head of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Speaking to attendees at a recent meeting in Tacoma, Wash., she said "there is no evidence it [bird flu] will be the next pandemic." ,,, Dr. Marc Siegel, author of False Alarm: The Truth About the Epidemic of Fear and a clinical associate professor of medicine at New York University School of Medicine in New York City, said, "There’s a complete psychosis here." "The whole problem with the topic is the blurring of the distinction between birds and people. I’d be worried if I was a bird — maybe. But not even all birds should be worried," Siegel said. The current H5N1 virus has generated more fear than normal because of its virulence and ease of transmission among flocks of domestic birds, said Dr. Alan I. Hartstein, professor of clinical medicine at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. …

"Any influenza virus that can cause a pandemic must gain the ability to be easily transmitted from person to person," said Hartstein. "Thus far, the H5N1 viruses do not have this capability and cannot cause a pandemic." …

U.S. Bird Flu Threat May Be Overstated, Experts Say

Interesting re Julie Gerberding. In February last year:

The nation’s top disease-control official proclaimed in a speech in Washington, DC, today that avian influenza is the single biggest threat the world faces right now, according to wire service reports. Reuters quoted Dr. Julie Gerberding, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as saying, "This is a very ominous situation for the globe" and that it is "the most important threat we are facing right now."

http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/cidrap/content/influenza/avianflu/news/feb2105gerberding.html Yet by November:

Right now, the H5N1 avian flu is primarily a problem for birds. It is not a pandemic and there is no evidence at the current time that it will ever be a pandemic but we have to be prepared.