Thursday, September 29, 2005

GibraItar Government announce contingency plans for bird flu pandemic

Concern that virus could spread

A Bird Market in Beijing China - Avian Influenza or Bird Flu as much a concern in Gibraltar as it is throughout EuropeThe possibility of the Bird Flu virus spreading to Europe from the Far East is the latest health hazard European Governments are having to contend with, and the local one is no exception.

In a statement issued yesterday, the Ministry of Health said it had secured the purchase in large quantities of the anti viral drugs that are prescribed to combat this infectious disease.

A Ministry of Health spokesman said:

“As a consequence of the possibility of the Bird Flu virus spreading to Europe from the Far East, partly along bird migratory routes, and the possibility of a pandemic developing, the Government is following World Health Organisation recommendations to stockpile antiviral drugs in suitable quantities.

An order has been placed for the drug Oseltamivir (Tamiflu) which is manufactured by Roche and is the drug of choice against this virus in most countries. Although a world-wide shortage of Oseltamivir is already beginning to occur, as countries begin stockpiling large quantities of the drug as part of their own contingency planning, the Government has been able to obtain a manufacturing slot.

A pandemic is defined as a large-scale outbreak of disease occurring over a wide geographic area across the world and affecting an exceptionally high proportion of the population.”

Related Articles and Links:

WHO Avian Influenza Pandemic Threat Recommendations

Avian Influenza - FAQs

NICE (National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence) UK - Factsheets on Oseltamivir (Tamiflu) Vaccine

Roche Laboratories Inc. - Tamiflu

World Health Organisation


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