Bush’s avian flu initiative (AKA the International Partnership on Avian and Pandemic Influenza)

The White House posted the transcript of President Bush’s speech today to the United Nations.  Of particular significance is the President’s announcement concerning the International Partnership on Avian and Pandemic Influenza (see http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2005/09/20050914.html for the complete transcript):

“As we strengthen our commitments to fighting malaria and AIDS, we must also remain on the offensive against new threats to public health such as the Avian Influenza. If left unchallenged, this virus could become the first pandemic of the 21st century. We must not allow that to happen. Today I am announcing a new International Partnership on Avian and Pandemic Influenza. The Partnership requires countries that face an outbreak to immediately share information and provide samples to the World Health Organization. By requiring transparency, we can respond more rapidly to dangerous outbreaks and stop them on time. Many nations have already joined this partnership; we invite all nations to participate. It’s essential we work together, and as we do so, we will fulfill a moral duty to protect our citizens, and heal the sick, and comfort the afflicted.”

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4 thoughts on “Bush’s avian flu initiative (AKA the International Partnership on Avian and Pandemic Influenza)”

  1. The concern for a pandemic involving avian influenza is serious. The risk from AI is much greater than any involving BSE. AI is already zoonotic, as seen in southeast asia. The fear for the United States is that many food and agricultural products are being smuggled into the country, due to cultural preferences. The current state of border protection is not adequately screening for these types of incidents. With the advent of DHS the food and agriculture border inspections were pushed to the back and are not being properly utilized. The risk is real.

  2. The latest on Avian Flu from the WHO 9/29/05
    The Ministry of Health in Indonesia has today confirmed another fatal human case of H5N1 avian influenza. The patient, a 27-year-old woman from Jakarta, developed symptoms on 17 September, was hospitalized on 19 September, and died on 26 September.
    Confirmatory testing was conducted at a WHO reference laboratory in Hong Kong.
    Initial investigation has revealed that the woman had direct contact with diseased and dying chickens in her household shortly before the onset of illness.
    The woman is the fourth laboratory-confirmed case of H5N1 infection in Indonesia. Three of these cases were fatal.
    As a result of intensified surveillance and heightened public concern, growing numbers of people with respiratory symptoms or possible exposure to the virus are being admitted to hospital for observation and, when appropriate, treatment. Until a conclusive diagnosis is made, these patients are classified by the Ministry of Health as suspect cases. While many do not have symptoms compatible with a diagnosis of H5N1 infection, screening of patient samples is being undertaken in national laboratories as part of efforts to ensure that no new cases are missed.
    Laboratory testing to confirm human infection with H5N1 avian influenza is technically difficult; some tests produce inconclusive or unreliable results. To ensure a reliable assessment of the situation in Indonesia, authorities are, after initial screening, continuing to send samples from people considered likely to have H5N1 infection to WHO reference laboratories for diagnostic confirmation.
    According to FAO, highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza is now endemic in poultry in many parts of Indonesia. As influenza virus activity in Indonesia may increase during the wet season, from November to April, human exposure to animal virus could be greater during the coming months. Further sporadic human cases can be anticipated.

  3. The virus has arrived in Europe in the meantime which is a sign how fast it can spread. No wonder, as birds are among animals the ones with the widest reach, most contacts to other mammals and no natural obstacles like coasts, mountains, etc. can prevent them from spreading the virus. So, in birds the virus found the perfect carrier.

  4. Because birds can fly, the virus spread too quickly all over the globe. After spreading from Asia to Europe, it is poised to enter the United States possibly within the next few months, as per federal officials. The important part to consider here is that it is the first public warning that attaches a timetable to the U.S. arrival of the bird-flu virus, which has killed at least 95 people since 2003, mostly in Asia, and has wreaked havoc on poultry flocks.

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