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US Thinks About The Alternative Methods To Combat Bird Flu

by Medindia Content Team on March 22, 2006 at 7:40 PM
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US Thinks About The Alternative Methods To Combat Bird Flu

Bird flu and the spread of it as a pandemic illness have created concerns among the US health authorities. Hence to prevent close contact among people and thereby facilitating the spread of the disease they have announced the closure of the schools, cancellation of big gatherings such as sports events and concerts.

But the US research team has said that these measures are of no use to contain this pandemic illness. According to the statistical study unveiled at the International Conference on Emerging Infectious Diseases, held in Atlanta, brought together experts from some 80 countries. The H5N1 avian influenza has killed 103 people, most of them in Asia.

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Health officials around the globe are concerned about the possibility of a pandemic if the virus mutates enough to pass easily from person to person. They say that people lack immunity which would result in the death of millions of people.

The bird flu has already spread to Asia, Europe, Africa and the Middle East. It has not been found in the United States but top government officials said that it would reach US soon. The alternative methods of containing the flu was thought due to the practical difficulties like limited stockpiles of drugs and delays in creating vaccines for a fast-changing virus.
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But said Michael Haber, the study's author and a professor in the Emory University Department of Biostatistics generated a computer model. Researchers simulated an influenza outbreak in a small urban community of several thousand people, where people made contact in a variety of places where disease could be transmitted, including schools, homes, day care centers, work places and long-term care facilities. The results suggested that closing schools might simply send children to other places where they could encounter a virus such as the movies or other places in the community.

On the other hand they said that home confinement would work wonders in stemming the spread of the disease. The study estimated that infection rates could be reduced up to 52 % and death rates up to 60 % by home confinement.

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