Sunday, January 01, 2006

Bird-Flu Update: US Measures Weak So Far

Let's not start the New Year without remembering that there is the possibility of an influenza crisis looming in the year ahead.

The San Jose Mercury News reports today on US measures to handle a possible future bird-flu outbreak.

The Clog-Almanac judges the reported measures to be weak, since they seem to only include plans to quarantine schools or immediate contacts of those that may become infected. Where are plans to provide for widespread hospital and care facilities should an epidemic arise? Where are plans to ramp-up means to produce and provide manufacturing capacity of vaccines for the otherwise unprotected citizenry?

Julie Gerberding, Director of the National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is quoted as saying:
"I don't think any of us are thinking of draconian measures to completely quarantine a country or quarantine a community."
But what if draconian measures become warranted? This healthy citizen feels that draconian measures, if deemed necessary, should be planned for, with an eye to facilitating adequate resources and care for those communities so affected while preserving the operation of essential state and local services.

Lessons from the 1918 influenza pandemic should guide preparation efforts with this sobering thought in mind: Though it's an affront to our national hubris, we've not advanced that far beyond the last century's disease containment technology, at least on a national scale. Why suffer again the results of lessons (here, here, here, and here,) not learned or heeded?

The CDC is not entirely responsible for everyone's personal health. Every state and community should be developing programs to guide public and government response to a future flu pandemic, and as individuals, we should learn as much as we can about preserving our health in perilous times.

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1 comment:

Blue Cross of California said...

Great blog I hope we can work to build a better health care system as we are in a major crisis and health insurance is a major aspect to many.