Pandemic


Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Trudy Larson defines the difference between an epidemic and pandemic this way, "An epidemic is a new or an old disease that is being seen in high numbers in a given period of time way above what would be expected a pandemic has a distinct definition that just means a global epidemic."

Dr. Trudy Larson says the current avian flu receiving so much attention is at least two years old. Most of the activity has been in Asia and is now spreading into Europe. The virus is in poultry and spread by wild birds. Human fatalities are attributed to living so close to poultry. Here in the U.S. that scenario is not as common. Nevertheless the Bush administration is proposing ways to combat the disease should it mutate and spread from person to person in this country.

On Wednesday Health and Human Services Director Mike Leavitt testified, " Many have compared a pandemic to a forest fire if you are there when the spark happens that sets the fire off you can mitigate the damage."

The Bush administration is proposing a $7.1 billion package to help the nation prepare for the pandemic. The money would go towards better vaccine development, stock piling vaccines, and anti-viral that could ward off severe symptoms of the flu. New information about that package shows that states would be responsible for 70-percent of the cost, which has some in the U.S. senate asking this, Sen. Tom Harkin, (D) Iowa, said, "How are you going to ask Louisiana right now to come up with money for that take Mississippi, I mean they have been hit hard."

Governor Kenny Guinn's Deputy Chief of Staff Lisa Foster says there are no specific numbers but, "We have a good financial base in Nevada unlike Louisiana or some other states but we still need to make sure we have those resources in place and we will work with the federal government to get their assistance should they need it."

Foster says finding a way to pay for such a project is going to require some tough work. There are some required avenues that may be a little easier to travel. State and local authorities would be required to set up quarantine plans or closing work places and schools. Such laws are already in place here which would give government the power to implement a battle plan.


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