Thursday, March 15, 2007
Recent news reports have contained speculation and projections about the spread of avian influenza (bird flu). They reflect the growing concern about the spread of avain influenza in birds and its potential threat to people.
At this time the avain virus has spread from wild birds to domesticated birds and from birds to people. The virus has been found in people in Asia, Africa, and Europe, but its spread "from person to person has been limited and has not continued beyond one person," according to the U.S. Government's Department of Health and Human Services www.pandemicflu.gov website.
No one knows whether the current avian virus situation will develop into a human flu pandemic, but history does teach us that we should expect a pandemic at some point, so we need to prepare for it. The U.S. Department of Health has a pandemic flu plan, as does the state of Pennsylvania and the local Department of Health. At this time, both Lawrence County and Westminster College are working on specific plans for the protection of the community.
As part of our plan, we want the Westminster College community to be informed. Please use the following resources to learn more about pandemic flu:
Infection of humans by the avian influenza is extremely rare. The public health community of the world is committed to monitoring the situation, to researching the development of a vaccine to prevent the influenza, and to keeping the public informed of any changes in the situation.
The best way for you to stay healthy and reduce your risk of contracting any flu virus is to wash your hands frequently and to get a flu shot each year.