Saturday, October 15, 2005

How to Stop Human Transmitted Bird Flu cold. Will the world work together?

Ha. Ha. If you believe our leaders will, I've got a bridge in New York for sale.

...surveillance, plus targeted use of anti-viral drugs, could halt [the spread of human transmitted bird flu], [UK and US experts] told Nature and Science journals.

At present, H5N1 flu strain poses only a limited threat to humans as it cannot be easily spread from person to person.

But experts fear the strain will might acquire this ability, causing a flu pandemic which could kill [on the scale of the 1918 Spanish flu which claimed between 20 and 40 million lives].

Professor Neil Ferguson, from Imperial College London, and his colleagues found two key conditions would have to be met to limit an outbreak of human-transmissible bird flu to fewer than 200 cases.

Firstly, the virus would have to be identified while confined to about 30 people, they told Nature.

Quick action

In addition, antiviral drugs would have to be distributed rapidly to the 20,000 individuals nearest those infected.

They estimate an international stockpile of three million courses of the treatment would be enough to contain an outbreak.

But it would mean having to deploy the drug anywhere in the world at short notice.

Another team from Emory University in Atlanta, the US, led by Dr Ira Longini, simulated an outbreak in a population of 500,000 in rural Thailand, where people mixed in a variety of settings, including households, schools, workplaces and a hospital.

Provided targeted use of antiviral drugs was adopted within 21 days it would be possible to contain an outbreak, they found, as long as each infected person was not likely to infect more than an average of 1.6 people.

If it was more infective than this, household quarantines would also be necessary, they said.
Bird flu pandemic stoppable if world works together.

Also see: Distant Thunder


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