US officials confident of AI preparedness

19-10-2006 | |

US officials’ confidence about domestic bird flu strategies is growing, but they are still worried about the risk overseas, according to an official from the US Department of Agriculture.

The US has enhanced its avian influenza prevention and detection programmes based on the expectation that the disease will eventually arrive in the US, said Ron DeHaven, director of the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
“We’re assuming it’s going to get here,” DeHaven said. “We’re preparing, from a regulatory perspective that it’s going to get here.”
More than a year ago, President Bush announced an aggressive federal effort to increase vaccination capabilities and boost testing of wild and domestic birds for avian influenza.
In the past year, state and federal wildlife officials have tested around 100,000 wild, migratory birds. Nationally, the USDA has certified 58 labs to conduct rapid screening tests for avian influenza, mostly state and university-operated facilities.
In related news, a study has shown that US residents may be stockpiling flu medication in case AI hits.

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