Congress, WHO sound the alarm over pandemic avian flu in China

House GOP chairman says cases underscore need for domestic plan

In this Wednesday, Dec. 31, 2014, file photo, health workers in full protective gear collect dead chickens killed by using carbon dioxide, after bird flu was found in some birds at a wholesale poultry market in Hong Kong. (AP Photo/Kin … more >
– The Washington Times – Friday, April 21, 2017

House Republicans sounded the alarm Friday over an avian flu threat that’s escalating in China, saying it underscores the need to finish and vet an overdue plan for responding to pandemic flu at home.

The H7N9 avian influenza virus mainly affects people who’ve been exposed to live poultry. It’s infected nearly 1,000 people in Asia and had a 40-percent fatality rate since its discovery in 2013, though the latest spurt of cases has been worse than previous ones, according to the World Health Organization.

Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden, Oregon Republican, and Rep. Tim Murphy, Pennsylvania Republican, say it is more important than ever to have a solid response plan in case the virus or other types of pandemic flu reach the U.S.

Last year, the Obama administration told Congress it was updating a decade-old plan to incorporate lessons from the U.S.’s brush with the H1N1 pandemic in 2009. The Health and Human Services Department told lawmakers it would release the document before the end of last year, but there’s still no plan.

“The need for the updated Pandemic Influenza Plan is vital as there is a current potential pandemic threat,” Mr. Walden and Mr. Murphy said in a letter to HHS Secretary Tom Price.

They cited an expert who said that H7N9 poses the largest pandemic threat in the last 100 years, raising the specter of yet another global health scare after recent outbreaks of Ebola in West Africa and the mosquito-borne Zika virus in the Americas.

4 thoughts on “Congress, WHO sound the alarm over pandemic avian flu in China

  1. We keep wishing for karma. Maybe this is it.

    Our approach to a possible pandemic reminds me of a silly poem I once read as a kid. It was about a winding road over a mountain pass. The road was narrow and had a 90-degree curve at the top, which resulted in a steady stream of vehicles going over the edge. City 1eaders thought of two solutions. One was to change the road and eliminate the curve. The other solution was to buy more ambulances. The geniuses ordered the ambulances.

    So we’ll leave the unhealthy birds crammed in cages in windowless warehouses, standing in and over trenches of their own waste, then kill them by the millions and rush to develop a vaccine when the inevitable plague threatens.

    Good job, geniuses!

    Liked by 1 person

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