- Hello Jeff - If the poultry industry wants to (essentially)
cover up the H7N2 outbreak and not identify the outbreak farms, one can
only imagine what they will do when the Asian H5N1 bird flu hits the US.
How much honesty will we get then?
- Patricia Doyle
- Poultry Industry Makes Plea To Suppress Flu
- By Sarah Lesher
- Delmarva Now.com
- In the wake of an economically devastating avian flu
outbreak in the Delmarva region [the Eastern seaboard states of Delaware,
Maryland, and Virginia] in 2004, poultry producers asked lawmakers Friday
for legislation to conceal the identity of infected farms, saying they
want to avoid panicked embargoes by overseas purchasers.
- However, secrecy would also limit the ability of non-government
officials to monitor disease spread, potentially placing human populations
- At a meeting of the Eastern Shore delegation to the General
Assembly on Friday, Bill Satterfield, executive director of Delmarva Poultry
Industry Inc., asked state legislators to support HB76, authorizing civil
penalties for people who violate animal health regulations, and HB104,
protecting the identity of infected farms.
- And the industry sought to assure the legislators that
they are doing all they can to ensure safety at their farms.
- "We're now working with county health departments
and other states to protect workers against avian influenza," said
Ron Darnell, Delmarva Poultry Industry Inc. president.
- [Maryland State] Delegate D. Page Elmore, R-38A-Wicomico
[Republican, District 38A, Wicomico County], asked another lawmaker to
research the question of trade sanctions and export bans.
- The strain of flu that infected Delmarva poultry in 2004
-- H7N2 -- is not very virulent. Only 2 poultry workers of hundreds tested
showed signs of having been infected with the disease.
- However, in Southeast Asia, other strains of avian flu
have long been known to spread to -- and kill -- humans in close contact
- Recently a young Vietnamese girl died of a different
strain of avian flu, H5N1, after contact with poultry. Her mother and aunt,
who had no direct contact with poultry, then became sick, and the mother
died, raising fears that the flu had evolved into a form transmissible
from human to human with the potential of causing a pandemic, according
to recent news reports.
- Outbreaks occurred in 1957 and 1968, possibly from flu
that jumped from birds to humans and then changed so it could move directly
from human to human, said Dr. Richard Slemons, Ohio State University professor
of veterinary medicine.
- Slemons noted that the poultry industry is so vertically
integrated that even if Europe refuses to accept imports of American poultry
for a week the cost can be millions of dollars.
- "Maryland and Delaware did a great job last year"
containing the disease, Slemons said. "We're due for another pandemic.
The only thing that's predictable is that (the viruses are) unpredictable."
- There has been no recorded case of human-to-human transmission
of avian flu strains in North America, said Llelwyn Grant, Centers for
Disease Control spokesman.
- As a one-time civil servant with a number of governments
(Canada, UK) and the UN (FAO, PAHO) and latterly as a moderator for ProMED,
I have witnessed more than a few efforts by various agencies to suppress
the release of 'bad' information. It is always counter-productive and makes
a difficult situation worse. Why?
- Because such information always comes out eventually,
either in the early confusion or latterly, and it makes people angry and
confrontational. The rapid release of 'bad' news means that the person
releasing it has control of that news and journalists and others turn to
that person or group for follow-up information. How many of us want that
to be a journalist who at best may only know 40 percent of what actually
happened? And a quick and accurate release (and apology if necessary) makes
for thin lawyers.
- If those _responsible_ release the information 1st, it
can ensure that the information available is accurate, though it might
have a distinct angle. Also, in time, they gain respect and trust, and
latterly some leeway because there is a track record of their doing the
best they can, maybe in difficult circumstances.
- It is interesting how a bad condition can be red-flagged
by the sudden absence of reports. We see this all the time with various
governments, and if they do it once, we begin to distrust what they do
report; afterwards, whatever they do is not enough to regain that confidence.
Just think of the Canadians and their honesty on BSE... because they were
patently open, their word is believed on a wider spectrum of activities.
- And when information is suppressed it usually goes hand-in-hand
with an administration not improving the situation that facilitated the
problem in the first place, be it a disease outbreak, poor control efficiency,
emergence of new pathogens or increased problems with an old one, whatever.
It is a public certification of an ongoing mess.
- While there is a fear that information and data will
be abused by "others," this may be true in the short term, but
it becomes balanced and frequently sooner rather than later.
- And to finally there is that apocryphal quote, "Get
it out fast or do you want to read about it on ProMED?" - Mod.MHJ
- Patricia A. Doyle, PhD
- Please visit my "Emerging Diseases" message
- at: http://www.clickitnews.com/ubbthreads/postlist.php?
- Zhan le Devlesa tai sastimasa
- Go with God and in Good Health