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Increased pandemic preparation needed

13th June 2008

“The recent statement, by Barack Obama's presidential campaign co-chairman Tom Daschle, urges that Britain and the US should lead the way in efforts to prevent and mitigate epidemics caused by bioterrorism and pandemic diseases. This, in my opinion, is welcomed news indeed.

“In recent years there have been several occurrences, including outbreaks of Avian Influenza and the criminal use of Polonium 210, that have highlighted gaps in our ability as a nation to efficiently manage situations where one single health issue has the potential to affect a substantial proportion of the population.

“As the threat of bioterrorism grows, the need for vigilance and preparedness is essential, in order to effectively deal with the impact upon the health of the population and economic infrastructure. In a pandemic situation, traditional access to healthcare is not always an option. Yet through services such as NHS Direct, the public is becoming familiar and comfortable with using telephone based access to healthcare and advice.

“Clinical Intelligence, coupled with technology, must be at the core of a country’s preparation plans for dealing with any possible outbreak that will spread quickly and could affect lives.  These technologies have been successfully trialed in real life situations, and proven to help contain the spread of infectious viruses, while enabling health providers to bring life saving anti-virals to the right place at the right time.

“By having an effective means of giving the public access to immediate clinical expertise, collecting and analysing information, and deploying the right resources at the right times, pandemics and bioterrorist attacks can be contained and the level of risk to the population minimised. Preparation is everything – having the tools to react quickly and effectively to these situations can really make the difference between life and death. I believe both the British and US Government have a crucial role to play in making sure this vision becomes a reality.?

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Article Information

Title: Increased pandemic preparation needed
Author: Martine Hamilton
Article Id: 7133
Date Added: 13th Jun 2008

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