Wednesday, June 29, 2005

EU gets ready, US doesn't get it

The European Union is getting its act together on bird flu. Influenza experts from the 25 member and others are meeting in Luxembourg to discuss integrated strategy.
Markos Kyprianou, Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection, said: “The threat of a global influenza pandemic with serious human and economic losses is a very real one that must be addressed. In today’s globalised society, unilateral responses to such possible outbreaks are not a viable option. There must be a coordinated EU approach to prevent and control diseases such as influenza, and today’s workshop is a significant step forward in this direction.”

The current avian influenza epidemic in Asia is unprecedented. It is caused by a particular strain of virus that has already caused the death or killing and destruction of more than 125 million birds, major economic losses to the countries concerned which have been estimated at € 8-12 billion and the death of more than 50 people. Even more worryingly, it has given rise to grave concerns that an influenza pandemic is imminent. (EU statement)
This reminds us of the US response--because it's so different. Hello-o-o . . .

NB: EU Animal Health and Control Measures regarding influenza; Public Health; and the document, Towards Sufficiency of Pandemic Influenza Vaccines in the EU, links up at Flu Wiki