Friday, June 09, 2006

U.S. Health Secretary Urges Central America To Plan for Pandemic (Bird flu)

Washington—U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Michael Leavitt urged regional cooperation and partnership in preparing for a human influenza pandemic when he spoke to Central American health ministers June 8.

At the meeting in Panama City, Panama, Leavitt outlined initiatives already launched to step up the region’s capability to fight infectious disease, anticipating that the highly pathogenic avian influenza virus that already has stricken much of the world soon will arrive in the Western Hemisphere.

In late 2003, the H5N1 influenza virus began appearing among birds in Southeast Asia, and since has spread to more than 50 nations, infecting wild birds, backyard poultry and commercial poultry flocks. More than 200 million birds have died or been destroyed to prevent further spread of the virus.

In 10 nations, humans also have been infected by this deadly flu, usually after close contact with ailing birds. The World Health Organization has confirmed deaths of 128 people due to H5N1, more than half of those known to have contracted the disease.

Avian influenza link to complete story

Posted by john T. on 06/09 at 04:46 PM
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