Avian Influenza on Community Health

            According to the Ministry of Health of Indonesia as the World Health Organization cited, a recent case of human illness of H5N1 bird flu or avian influenza has been reported. It was seen in a 16-yr-old girl from West Java Province, and was said to have developed the symptoms last December 30, 2007. She was confined and was hospitalized on January 2008. Through investigations, they have discovered a history of chicken mortalities in the girl’s neighborhood, 2 weeks prior to the onset of symptoms.

            Of the 117 situations reported in Indonesia, 94 were confirmed fatal.

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            The adverse economic consequences resulting from the destruction of these domestic livestock and wild fowl populations were enormous. As the international  community prepared for what they thought was the next global epidemic of flu close cooperation between the World Health Organization (WHO), various ministries of health and their laboratories, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) were required as we prepared for possible catastrophe. Governments of odds on issues ranging from trade to national security engaged their public health communities to facilitate the movement of consultants and laboratory samples. Throughout the world, vaccine manufacturers from the private sector waited to learn more about the characteristics of the new strain.

            Luckily, a worst case situation did not ensue. Still, global disease tracking must continue to monitor and report critical information related to the seasonal rise and ebb of the influenza virus and its effect on the world’s population. Clearly, this limited mobilization required new partners and involved both preventive medical, diplomatic, and intergovernmental measures in an attempt to protect the world’s population. On a global scale, disease tracking, decision making, and laboratory capacities need to be strengthened. Had this event culminated in the confirmation of a new “killer flu” virus, it would have become clear that our emergency capacities for global epidemic response are not fully in place.

References:

Avian influenza – situation in Indonesia. (2008, January 14, 2008). World Health Organization, from http://www.who.int/csr/don/2008_01_11/en/index.html

Cahill, K. M. (2000). Preventive Diplomacy: Stopping Wars Before They Start. London and New York: Routledge.

 

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