Saturday, October 15, 2005

ok, I'm calm, I'm calm.....

Public urged to be calm over flu. People should not panic after the discovery of a deadly form of avian flu among birds in Turkey, the UK government has said.
The Department of Health stressed its advice on who should be vaccinated against flu was unchanged.
It said vulnerable groups, such as the elderly and some children, to have the seasonal flu jab as normal.
EU veterinary officers have agreed a package of measures aimed at stopping the virus entering member states.

I don't think, at this stage, the public should feel they are under a different threat than before Dr David Salisbury, Head of Immunisation at the Department of Health

People in the UK with weak immune systems, such as children with asthma or diabetes, have long been advised to have an annual jab to protect them against flu.
Since the H5N1 strain of bird flu, which has killed 60 people in South East Asia, was confirmed in birds in Turkey on Thursday, concern has risen about the UK's plans to contain any outbreak here.
News of the outbreak in north-west Turkey came after avian flu was also confirmed in ducks in Romania. The EU said those cases were assumed to be the same strain.
Samples of the dead birds were sent from Turkey and Romania to the UK for laboratory analysis.
David Salisbury, head of immunisation at the Department of Health, told BBC News that people in identified groups, including the elderly, children with conditions such as diabetes or asthma and others who had weakened immune systems should get the seasonal flu vaccination as normal.
But he added: "The currently available vaccine is for people vulnerable to flu, but will not protect them against an emerging pandemic strain."
The government orders around 14 million doses of flu vaccine for the annual vaccination campaign again seasonal influenza.

However, Dr Salisbury said experts were planning for the eventuality of bird flu mutating to spread between humans.
"The risk is very real, we're very aware of what's happening in south-east Asia and are monitoring very carefully the spread of disease amongst birds.
"We're watching very carefully for cases in humans and the presence of bird disease in Europe of course raises everybody's anxieties."
Dr Salisbury said the UK public should not feel the dangers from bird flu had increased, following the emergence of bird flu in Turkey.
"I don't think, at this stage, the public should feel they are under a different threat than before."

But he said the developments in Turkey would be considered in UK preparations.
He said developing a vaccine would take three to five months, and could only be undertaken once the strain of any virus causing a pandemic was identified.
This time delay was the reason the UK was stockpiling antiviral drugs to treat symptoms if they emerged, Dr Salisbury said.

The government has ordered 14.6m doses of the antiviral drug Tamiflu.
This would be enough for 25% of the population - the proportion the World Health Organization predicts would be affected in a pandemic.
"Normal" flu affects 5 -10% of the population.
Conservative Shadow Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said the UK was not completely ready for the effects of a human flu outbreak.
He added: "The government has done too little, too late, to protect the health of the population if an outbreak is imminent."
He said the country was behind some countries in the queue for anti-viral drugs from pharmaceutical companies.

BBC correspondent Jill Higgins said if there was a pandemic, UK officials would start health screening at UK ports to help keep infections out.
"They'd consider closing schools around the country and they'd set restrictions on public gatherings to make it as difficult as possible for the virus to spread", she said.
Sales 'damage'
The UK government said plans were also in place to contain the spread of avian flu among wild and domestic birds.
However, the National Farmers' Union has expressed concern that public fears over the virus could damage chicken and poultry sales - even though the virus cannot be passed on through eating chicken.
The EU veterinary officers meeting in Brussels agreed measures which focused on "strengthening bio-security measures on farms and introducing early detection systems in high risk areas".
A separate EU meeting of bird flu experts is expected to issue advice on the potential risk for humans who come into contact with migratory birds.
EU foreign ministers are to hold emergency talks on the bird flu threat on Tuesday when they meet in Luxembourg for WTO negotiations
Story from BBC

I'm not worried.... but perhaps I should be [looks worried] - anyway - are we ever really ready for the flu? any flu?



CyberKitten said...

As there is nothing we can do... and if it's coming then it's coming... why fret....?

If push comes to shove we stay inside & spray any passers by with disinfectant...

(remembers to start stockpiling canned goods...)

craziequeen said...

In which case, wouldn't the EU do better by formulating plans to help the Asian earthquake victims? They do appear to need help and succour from other nations....

Don't forget to stock up on your anti-flu herbal remedies, kitty.....


CyberKitten said...

I was watching the News last night.. and they said that the Gov is stockpiling anti-virals for 25% of the population - but they don't know if they'll work or not. Also that any vaccine can only be started after the flu epidemic hits and will take months to manufacture.

The epidemic is expected to last 12 weeks... and kill an estimated 50,000 people....

Sounds bad - except they didn't say how many a 'normal' flu epidemic kills....

Oh, I have a feeling that dosing up on Echinacia won't have that much effect... (grin) and all you netheads out there... I wouldn't bother buying any meds off the Web.. they're expensive, probably fake and probably won't work anyway....

craziequeen said...

Only real remedy for colds and flu is sleep and plenty of it....

Those over the counter remedies do no more than ease the symptoms - which, of course, gives the sufferer the chance to recuperate....


CyberKitten said...

From The Independent:

Thousands of people risk being "ripped off" by internet firms cashing in on the panic buying of drugs to guard against bird flu.

Following confirmation that the deadly virus has reached Turkey, the price of Tamiflu, an anti-viral drug that experts believe could improve survival chances among victims by up to 50 per cent, rose to nearly £9 a tablet.

Roche, the Swiss maker of Tamiflu, has issued a warning not to buy the prescription-only pill over the internet.

"We cannot vouch for internet sales," said David Reddy, Roche's executive in charge of sales of Tamiflu. "People may buy material from the internet which is purported to be Tamiflu but isn't, and which poses serious medical risks."
Yesterday, Professor Hugh Pennington, who headed the Government's probe into the E. Coli 0157 tragedy which killed at least 20 people in Lanarkshire, said people risked being "ripped off" by buying a drug they did not need.

He said: "The risk of them getting bird flu is low. Tamiflu is not [a] wonder drug. It was given to some people in Asia and did not stop them dying."

Juggling Mother said...

This is scare-mongering at it's worst. At this moment in time we have NOTHING to fear from bird flu. I guess worst case scenario is that the price of chicken may rise a bit - although judging from previous animal scares, it's actually more likely prices will plummet as people stop buying the stuff:-)

Bird flu infects & kills birds. Unless I'm hugely mistaken we are not birds. the few cases of humans contracting the disease have been from working in close proximity to large numbers of infected birds, without taking any hygeine precautions (ie: being poor, in a poor country). There have been no proven cases of human to human contagion, and only one debated case. The virus is not airborne.

All in all, we're pretty damn safe - worry more about syphillis, Gonnorhea & Chlamydia which truely are reaching epidemic proportions.

the SARS thing was annoying enough (Wow, 200 people dead across the whole world!), but this is whipping up a frenzy over absolutely nothing.

Anonymous said...

Where did you find it? Interesting read » »