Saturday, January 14, 2006

Finland: Health Officials Map Out Bird Flu Scenarios

Finland is preparing for a possible global outbreak of bird flu by stockpiling medicines, ordering vaccines, and drawing up scenarios and plans of action. Officials believe that in spite of the precautions, more than one third of Finns - over 1.8 million people - would catch the virus, and that as many as 10,000 people could die in the pandemic. In such a situation, a state of emergency would be declared, with restrictions on movement and gatherings. Emergency hospitals would be set up, and distribution of medicines would be regulated.

The scenario would be that a new virus would mutate somewhere in the world, resulting in a strain that can spread from person to person, against which humans have not developed a resistance. Emergency measures would be enacted when an outbreak occurs somewhere in the world, even if no cases of the disease are diagnosed in Finland. Merja Saarinen, chairwoman of a pandemic preparation working group of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, says that the first measure to be taken would be to assess the vaccine situation. Read More ....

Source: Helsingin Sanomat
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