Sunday, January 01, 2006

Columbus official on Avian influenza watch

Teresa Long, is one of the people on the front lines in the watch for
any avian influenza outbreaks. Being the Commissioner of Health for Columbus, Ohio puts her in the position of
of having to keep a wary eye on what some deem the next Pandemic.

In a recent interview Long remarked, “We will need to balance limiting someone’s ability to move in the community with the necessity to protect public health”.

Concern, not panic in reference to Bird Flu

Long said, There is no definitive answer to whether the avian flu strain will become the next pandemic, but there are causes for concern, especially given the high mortality rate in humans who have contracted the bird flu virus.

First, history shows that pandemics occur about three times a century. The last one was in 1968. In addition, the avian flu strain identified in Southeast Asia has already met two of three criteria for a pandemic: It’s a new virus to which humans have little immunity, and it causes severe illness.

The wild card, is the third criteria - whether avian flu will morph into a strain that can be spread from person to person. So far, only people who have had direct contact with infected birds have been hit by the virus.

“I do believe there is serious concern, but we don’t need to panic,” Long said… Read more at MSNBC

Posted by john T. on 01/01 at 10:09 PM
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