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Archive for Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Practice run?

Hopefully, an outbreak of swine flu in parts of the United States will be only an opportunity for the nation’s emergency responders to test the skills they will need in a larger disaster.

April 28, 2009

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At least at this point, an outbreak of swine flu is far short of a global disaster, but how this situation is handled could provide some valuable insight and information for medical and government officials charged with dealing with such matters.

The incidence of swine flu in humans is of special interest to Kansans, because two of the 40 cases that had been confirmed by midday Monday were in Dickinson County. The Kansas couple were diagnosed with the disease after the man returned from a trip to Mexico, which is the center of the outbreak. Their cases are said to be mild, but they nonetheless have isolated themselves to prevent spread of the disease.

So far, handling of the matter by U.S. officials seems sound. They are monitoring the situation and have issued an advisory urging Americans to avoid nonessential travel to Mexico. The Centers for Disease Control has released antiviral drugs and equipment to help states respond to the outbreak. Kansas officials said Monday they expected to receive flu-fighting drugs from the nation’s strategic stockpile within a few days.

Maj. Gen. Tod Bunting, the state’s adjutant general who is overseeing the Kansas response, also noted that dealing with a disease pandemic was one of the most common scenarios for the state’s response training exercises in recent years. The current outbreak is an opportunity to put some of that training to use and perhaps learn how the state and nation might improve their response to future situations involving dangerous diseases or even more sinister instances of biological sabotage or terrorism.

The CDC has issued some common-sense advice to help Americans prevent the flu from spreading: cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze, wash your hands frequently, avoid contact with sick people and limit contact with others if you get sick. With any luck, the current outbreak will be contained before more serious measures are called for.

It seems that U.S. involvement in the swine flu outbreak was caught early and that U.S. health officials are on top of the situation. Hopefully their handling of the outbreak will increase their own confidence as well as the confidence of the nation in their ability to meet even more serious challenges if and when they arise.

Comments

Ray Parker 4 years, 12 months ago

Practice for the CDC? History tells us about their practice. People are recalling the swine flu debacle of 1976, when the CDC urged a $137-million mass vaccination, because of suspected similarity to the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic originating in Kansas that killed 50 million worldwide during a year and a half. The vaccine appeared to increase the risk for Guillain-Barre syndrome, a rare neurological condition that causes temporary paralysis but can be fatal. 40 million received the swine flu vaccine before the program was halted in December after 10 weeks. More than 500 people are thought to have developed Guillain-Barre syndrome after receiving the vaccine; 25 died. Only about 200 cases of swine flu and one death were ultimately reported in the U.S in the 1976 fiasco. At least the CDC head lost his job. But don't worry, now you have that leftist abortion extremist Bilious Sebelius appointed to protect you from disease and bad vaccines, and that idiot Marxist Napolitano. And that socialist Rohm Emanuel, who never wastes a good crisis.

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Chris Ogle 4 years, 12 months ago

Big O needs to fill his positions.... we may need some help someday.

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