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October 03, 2005

WHO Inconsistent on H5N1 Avian Flu MessageGee Dubya

The World Health Organization's Dr. David Nabarro was named Senior United Nations System Coordinator for Avian and Human Influenza on September 29, 2005. At a United Nations press conference that day:

He said the likelihood of the bird flu virus jumping into the human population was generally thought by health officials to be high. "I'm not sure whether 'almost certain' is the impression I'd like to have conveyed to you, but it does seem very likely and it would be extremely wrong for me as a public health person to be ignoring this threat." Dr. Nabarro joined WHO in 1999 and was appointed Executive Director of Sustainable Development and Health Environments in July 2002. He was also a senior policy adviser to the Director-General.

He said that the number of deaths that would result from any pandemic would depend on where the outbreak occurred, the speed with which health and Government officials discovered the outbreak, the response initiatives and the quality of these initiatives. Countries with limited health-care systems that could not care for many ill people and that did not openly transfer information from the local to the national levels would affect the final number of deaths. "I'm not, at the moment, at liberty to give you a prediction on numbers, but I just want to stress, that, let’s say, the range of deaths could be anything from 5 to 150 million."
Friday, the WHO implied that mentioning a possible death toll of 150 million is tantamount to alarmism:
The number of deaths will depend largely on how contagious and lethal the virus is - two factors that cannot be known until the pandemic strain emerges.

However, even though several estimates could be plausible, WHO "can't be dragged into further scaremongering," Thompson told reporters.
From another news report:
While WHO's flu spokesman at the agency's Geneva headquarters did not say the 150 million prediction was wrong, he emphasized that 7.4 million deaths is a more realistic estimate.
But Nabarro isn't backing down:
Nabarro said he stood by the figures he presented, noting that he wanted the world to be prepared for a worst case scenario when the next flu pandemic occurs. He said efforts currently under way could determine whether the death toll is 5 million or 150 million people.

Schizophrenia at the UN and WHO related to the analysis of the threat of an H5N1 avian influenza pandemic is not what's needed.


Previous:

NEJM - Current Concepts: Avian Influenza A (H5N1) Infection in Humans
Influenza Vaccines and Antivirals - How Effective?
Who Sounds Warning on H5N1 Avian Influenza
Six Regions in Russia Affected; Avian Flu Moves Toward Europe
Not Really
Sichuan Swine Disease Reports Continue to Puzzle Experts
H5N1 Avian Flu Virus Outbreaks in Poultry in Russia and Kazakhstan
Pig-Borne Illness in China Story Getting Curiouser and Curiouser
H5N1 Avian Flu Update: Read it and Weep


Posted by dymaxion at October 3, 2005 12:50 PM

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