Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Nabarro: "The moment the pandemic starts it's too late to get prepared"

No reason to panic, but certainly, folks should have this front and center on their radar screens if they are preparedness oriented.

Excerpt from ...

http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20060124/hl_afp/healthfluun_060124182621

World must act as if flu pandemic imminent: UN official

GENEVA (AFP) - The world must brace for a human influenza pandemic, acting as if it will strike "tomorrow," the UN official preparing the battle said.

Many people appeared to be under the impression that they would have time to prepare for the widely feared pandemic but that was wrongheaded, said Dr. David Nabarro.

"It's very hard to get people prepared for something that is as uncertain and unclear as this problem," Nabarro told reporters.

"So many people, when I talk to them about getting prepared, seem to imply that we've got months in which to get prepared but I say to them: 'It may not be months.'

"It could be that we're going to get human-to-human transmission tomorrow so please act as though it's going to start tomorrow. Dont keep putting off the difficult issues'."

The H5N1 bird flu virus has affected poultry flocks in the Far East and Turkey, and has claimed some 80 human lives after spreading from birds to people.

But experts fear the virus could mutate almost overnight and unobserved into a new form that would spread easily between humans and spark a repeat of the global influenza pandemics that killed tens of millions of people in the past century.

"There is a sensation for all of us who are working on this of standing on the edge of a really deep precipice and not knowing how far we're going to fall," said Nabarro.

"The moment the pandemic starts it's too late to get prepared." ...

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