Thursday, October 20, 2005

The Human-Avian Flu Pandemic Can Be Averted

I have contacted my patients who are chicken farmers and offered them a regular influenza A vaccine - the one we offer annually to all over 65s, and those with chronic illnesses. This will not stop them from getting Avian flu, but it will greatly reduce the chance of it being in the bloodstream of my particular patients that the Avian flu combines with human flu to produce the feared pandemic.

If all chicken keepers in the UK were offered this service, the mutation would be most unlikely to occur in the UK. It might add perhaps 0.01% to the overall cost of the annual influenza vaccination effort. Compared to the cost of vaccinating the whole population of the UK against the H5N1 strain if and when it emerges, (which the Government proposes to do) the cost would be negligible. It is also easier than the alternative option of running chicken stocks down next spring.

If this policy were extended to chicken keepers throughout the world, the chance of the pandemic occurring at all might be averted.

Now for the job of trying to get a decision - maker to listen. Have sent to MP and Green Party media. WHO never answer emails. Try BMA next.

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