State's Planned Response for Potential Flu Pandemic

By: Ali Gorman, R.N.
By: Ali Gorman, R.N.

Health officials are planning for a possible avian flu pandemic. The state's Diagnostic Center for Population and Animal Health at Michigan State University will play a key role in diagnosing infected birds.

"A quick diagnosis means we can take a preventative measures to protect the public and protect the domestic bird population," said Dr. Willie Reed, the director of the diagnostic center.

Reed says the virus can be carried by waterfowl, such as geese, from Asia to America. If the virus is found here and it gains the ability to jump from human to human, state health officials say the federal government will be in charge of distributing vaccine and medication. However, neither is widely available or proven effective.

Because of this if an outbreak should occur here soon, basic principles of good sanitation, hand washing, isolation and quarantine will be the tools available to fend off a pandemic.

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