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What’s really scary about bird flu

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  • What’s really scary about bird flu

    http://msnbc.msn.com/id/12411469/
    What’s really scary about bird flu
    Government botched vaccine planning even for the ordinary flu season
    COMMENTARY
    By Arthur Caplan, Ph.D.
    MSNBC contributor
    Updated: 2:48 p.m. ET April 21, 2006

    We are being told not to worry about bird flu, that our politicians are right on top of the situation and know just what to do if the first human-to-human transmission of bird flu happens.
    Oh, really?
    Let’s take a look at their track record in this area. Back in the fall of 2004 when the vaccine against ordinary, mundane, plain-old nasty winter flu was in very short supply, this same group in the White House and Congress performed miserably.
    That was a warning shot. But no one in Washington seems to have heard it, and that’s what is truly scary about the threat of a bird flu pandemic.
    Here’s a reminder how the flu vaccine shortage played out: As this nation geared up to face the annual challenge of the flu, a disease that kills about 35,000 Americans every year and hospitalizes 200,000 more, Chiron Corp. announced that the British government had shut down its vaccine production plant in Liverpool, England.
    Tommy Thompson, then head of Health and Human Services, stated in October 2004, that the U.S. government would make sure that the scarce supply of flu shots “reaches those who are most vulnerable.” This meant rationing vaccines so that those over 65, pregnant women, children under age 2, health care workers and those with serious health problems could get vaccinated first. Shortly thereafter, all hell broke loose.
    By January 2005 many people in these high-risk groups still had not gotten a flu shot. Instead, college kids were getting vaccinated at their student health services. People were lying about their health to get a shot. Hundreds lined up at Wal-Mart and other locations where everyone who showed up got vaccinated. Doctors gave shots to their favorite patients. Some hospitals simply vaccinated everyone on the premises; others hoarded their supply, refusing to share with other hospitals and clinics.
    Rhetoric about the orderly and carefully thought-out rationing of a scarce life-saving resource — flu vaccine — turned into a cacophony of cheating, hoarding, lying and selfishness.
    Plus, it was never clear who exactly had the authority to enforce rules about rationing — the CDC, the White House, governors, state health departments or mayors?
    Remind you of the response to Hurricane Katrina, by any chance?
    So what do we face should there be a pandemic of avian flu? Initially, there would be a couple of months of relying on existing flu vaccines (still in short supply) and anti-viral medicines (also in somewhat short supply) without really knowing if they would do anyone much good. We also might need a lot of hospital beds and ventilators to support those who get sick. But not much discussion has gone on to tell us how these supplies would be rationed.
    Later, as scientists and vaccine companies began to figure out how to make vaccines that will work against whatever strain of avian flu is killing people, we would still face shortages. Who gets vaccinated first, and why? Do you know? I don’t, either.
    But that is the point. We need transparent and understandable discussion of what the rules for rationing are going to be if the worst-case scenario occurs.
    The antidote to hoarding, cheating, lying, confusion and selfishness is clear-cut policies that each of us understands. We also need to know who has the authority to enforce the rules and how they will do so.
    The recent experience with flu vaccine was not promising. Your politicians should do more than promise things will go better then next time. They need to stop promising and start acting.

    Arthur Caplan is director of the Center for Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania.

  • #2
    Re: What’s really scary about bird flu

    Check out the links below.

    NBC seems to be playing both sides of the field on the issue of Bird Flu.

    They will publish articles that appeal to those who don't believe it's a threat like Wendy "Tweedle Dee" Orent and Marc "Tweedle Dum" Siegel, and then they will show the real threat.


    <SCRIPT></SCRIPT><TABLE class=boxH_3053751 cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width=300><TBODY><TR><TD class=boxHC_3053751 noWrap width=*> NBC NEWS SPECIAL REPORT
    </TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE><TABLE class=boxB_3053751 cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width=300><TBODY><TR vAlign=top><TD></TD></TR><TR vAlign=top><TD class=boxBI_3053751>• Why worry? Experts explain
    Skeptics warn against hype
    Is your town ready?
    Robert Bazell: Preparations long overdue
    Ann Curry: Bird flu’s fear factor
    'Today' show video: Is U.S. ready?
    Interactive map: Track bird flu's spread
    Migratory routes: Follow the birds

    </TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: What’s really scary about bird flu

      By the way, Marc and Wendy if you are reading this I think you should remember.

      When this is all said and done, historians will write the tale of those that helped people and those that did not.

      I fear that you will be remembered as being part of the group that did not help anyone but yourself.

      There is nothing worse than being immortalized in words as being a jackass that cost people's their lives.

      Glad I am not you.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: What’s really scary about bird flu

        I'll tell you whats really scary...

        I just put up a bird house in my backyard!

        Yikes!!!!!!!

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: What’s really scary about bird flu

          Yes, the fact the you, as theoretically informed person would do that, is scary.

          What were you thinking?

          How about putting it above the entrance to the CDC headquarters? If they take it down, we'll know what they REALLY think.

          .
          "The next major advancement in the health of American people will be determined by what the individual is willing to do for himself"-- John Knowles, Former President of the Rockefeller Foundation

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: What’s really scary about bird flu

            Originally posted by AlaskaDenise
            Yes, the fact the you, as theoretically informed person would do that, is scary.

            What were you thinking?

            How about putting it above the entrance to the CDC headquarters? If they take it down, we'll know what they REALLY think.

            .
            Yes Go - Why don't you also construct a hen house next to the bird feeder?

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: What’s really scary about bird flu

              Yes - good idea. At least one of every species.

              We'll add that to the list, along with losers are drafted for hospital triage.

              A little bird told me that PR experts make good sentinels.
              .
              "The next major advancement in the health of American people will be determined by what the individual is willing to do for himself"-- John Knowles, Former President of the Rockefeller Foundation

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: What’s really scary about bird flu

                Good for Art. I'd be curious to know if he's going beyond this piece to spread the word about bird flu.

                Gotta admit, I miss the old 'Burgh every once in a while (especially Squirrel Hill & Shadyside), the Jewish neighborhoods around U Pitt and Carnegie Mellon, the Carnegie Museums, Phipps Conservatory herb garden and inside on Oct 31 for Halloween horrors, the Greasy "O", the "Strip" for produce and cheese every Saturday morning, walking by Andy Warhol's old house, and Frick Park... or Schenley Park where you had to watch out not to get run over by the CMU robotic remote controlled vehicle as it got confused and followed a strong black branch shadow instead of the edge of the blacktop lane.

                OK, it's Friday - Shabbat just before sundown - lots of families on our street would be walking by on their way to synagogue.

                Mental images from before pandemic...

                Comment

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