It has been urged by the Federal Government to stockpile medicines and food owing to the possibility of potential bird flu pandemic in America.// A pandemic is said to occur when a new strain of the influenza virus gets transmitted from one person to the other, thereby causing serious human illness.
Warning has already been issued regarding the mutation of the H5N1 virus into a more potent form and the probability of a devastating human-human transmission. If this were to occur, it is believed that it would affect every aspect of human life. Although the above stockpiling measure would be of a limited help, it would at least minimize the social impact of service disruption.
“Our goal here is to help people prepare, not to panic. Through preparation people can gain peace of mind knowing they’ve done what they can do”, said Christina Pearson, a spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
To help the general public cope better with disruption of transport, work and school, a checklist has been prepared, which can be used as a guide. In addition, details related to storage of non-perishable food, water and drugs would be provided in the checklist.
The general public has also been requested to discuss the potential shortcomings with their family physician and obtain the required amount of medicinal supply to avoid shortage during a pandemic. The practical implementation of this request is unclear due to problems associated with procurement of medicines through private insurance plans.
The above initiative, a representation of both the private and public preparation to tackle a bird flu outbreak has been launched following requests from many individuals. In addition, the development of a bird flu (H5N1) vaccine is still under the experimental phase. It would take several years before mass production of the vaccine can be made a reality.
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