Skip to comments.Bird Flu Threat Not So Grave, CDC Chief Says
Posted on 04/15/2006 5:48:32 PM PDT by blam
Bird flu threat not so grave, CDC chief says
M. ALEXANDER OTTO; The News Tribune
Published: April 15th, 2006 01:00 AM
Federal health officials at a meeting Friday in Tacoma downplayed the risk bird flu poses to humans, contrasting earlier warnings from the federal government. There is no evidence it will be the next pandemic, Dr. Julie Gerberding, head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, said of avian flu. There is no evidence it is evolving in a direction that is becoming more transmissible to people.
Gerberding spoke at the Greater Tacoma Convention & Trade Center at a pandemic flu conference that drew 1,200 people from across the state, mostly health department officials and others involved in emergency planning.
Other officials from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and elsewhere joined her. Gov. Chris Gregoire and several upper-level state officials also spoke.
Gerberdings comments on bird flu contrast earlier statements from the federal government that tended to emphasize worse-case scenarios.
In a November letter to the public, for instance, President Bush encouraged preparing ourselves, our nation, and our world to fight this potentially devastating outbreak of infectious disease.
The concern is that the H5N1 strain of bird flu virus will mutate into a form passed easily between people.
Visit to encourage state planning
Audience questions Friday about buying surgical masks and stockpiling food showed the concern Bushs comments and others have raised.
But Gerberding noted that, though the disease has killed gazillions of birds, it has killed about 100 people out of about 200 sickened worldwide. The victims were in intense, daily contact with sick flocks, often sharing the same living space. Two people have become infected from person-to-person contact.
She did not say what had changed the thinking of health care officials about bird flu, but said that, at this point, there is no reason to think it ever will pass easily between people.
Given those facts, bird flu, like SARS, swine flu and other once widely publicized health threats, might never become a significant human illness.
The visit by Gerberding and the other federal officials was part of a 50-state tour to encourage state and local planning for pandemics, terrorism and other health emergencies.
Such preparedness would be especially important, since local officials would be the first to learn of problems, and a full federal response couldnt be expected for a few days.
It was announced at the meeting that Washington state has been granted $2 million
federal money to help with planning.
Several officials said state and local planning in Washington already is among the best in the nation.
We have an effective state strategy, Gregoire said, noting the need for constant fine-tuning and updating. Today we talk about pandemic flu. In 10 years it will be something else the important thing is to be ready for whatever comes.
Easy precautions to take
Even if bird flu never causes significant problems for people, Gerberding said, the focus on it encourages emergency planning that will save lives whether there is a pandemic or not.
She and other federal officials said H5N1 bird flu likely will reach the United States, because bird flu and its many strains occur naturally in migratory birds.
When that happens, it does not signal the start of a pandemic or a threat to the food supply, said Richard Raymond, an undersecretary at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Cooking meat to 160 degrees will destroy the virus, he said in addition to destroying salmonella, which sickens more people than H5N1 ever will even if there is a pandemic.
Gerberding cautioned that when H5N1 is detected in the United States, there will be temptation for the press to make this into something it is not. We will need responsible journalism to prevent irrational panic.
I wonder what happened to "Not if but, when"?
Do they think they've scared us too much?
No, I think they finally realized that if it doesn't happen that they will look like idiots. Again.
They should be encouraging people to be prepared for a general disaster. Pointing at NOLA is an example that people can relate to. They should be saying you should be prepared for some thing like that. That appears to be what they are shifting to.
> Do they think they've scared us too much?
The sky is falling.
I suspect we're to the point where "it could still happen",
but is actually a bit less likely than a pandemic from
an agent and source as yet unknown.
The preparations and scenario work were still worthwhile.
> I wonder what happened to "Not if but, when"?
It's still "when", but perhaps not H5N1, this time.
H7T3m.8, on the other hand ...
Birds are vile nasty things. They're getting what's been coming to them all along.
I admit to having been irritated by all of the repeated dire warnings that the sky is falling from the alarmists on this subject.
Two words: - Swine Flu.
It does not make any difference... we all died of AIDS in 1987 when the disease spread to the white hetrosexual community.
Not me. It's been that long since I've had sex.
(The next poster will say, "You must be married.")
Of course any human given this treatment will also be destroyed, so we're back to square one.
(Laughing at all th Chicken Little Types)
Like I've been saying all along: Nyquil works!
The issue of bird flu was never about western nations being caught in a pandemic or mutation from one strain to another: it was a scam to drain money form the American taxpayer to deliver health care to poor nations in Africa and Asia.
Glad that's all over with. Can we go back to being scared of Mad Cow now?
"I wonder what happened to "Not if but, when"?
They just switched it to the asteroid that's gonna get us next month ;~)
I think the hot water in restaurants is required to be 160 degrees F.
You mean the one that's gonna hit earth on the 25th of May?
Everything about that idea is kooky except passing through the comet trail. A swarm of comet fragment impacts is believed to have ushered in the The Dark Ages.
"Astronomers unravel a mystery of the Dark Ages Undergraduates' work blames comet for 6th-century "nuclear winter" Scientists at Cardiff University, UK, believe they have discovered the cause of crop failures and summer frosts some 1,500 years ago a comet colliding with Earth. The team has been studying evidence from tree rings, which suggests that the Earth underwent a series of very cold summers around 536-540 AD, indicating an effect rather like a nuclear winter."
Another crisis averted!
I get it now. They're afraid we'll have a 'micro-panic' when it's announced that birds in the US have the Bird Flu. I think it's too late already, the store shelves will be stripped after the announcement.
Now, I'm concerned. When they were predicting catastrophe, I wrote that off a funding opportunity. Given the government's track record on predicting health disasters, I felt pretty good. But now that they are saying we will all live, it feels like I better start some disaster prep.
LOL. Reminded me of that hilarious opening scene of Team America.
"No, I think they finally realized that if it doesn't happen that they will look like idiots. Again."
Yeah I noticed that some scientists say .. hmmm 50/50 chance [real safe answer]. I agree, folks should be urged to prepare, to get enough supplies in your homes.. for the "just in case" factor. Incase those deaths in Baku
Egypt, Vietnam, china, really might be H2H and not directly from poulty. http://www.pandemicflu.gov/
after all WHO has to confirm the cause death or they aren't counted in the total.
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