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May 23, 2006

Police and soldiers need not apply

Excellent article from Reuters: Never use police, army, U.S. pandemic expert says.

Dr. D.A. Henderson, who helped wipe out smallpox around the world, has a little piece of advice for governments fighting bird flu -- don't use the military or police to enforce public health.

Henderson, who likes to describe how he was vaccinated thousands of times against smallpox to demonstrate the immunization's safety to wary villagers, says it is much easier to halt epidemics by winning the trust of community leaders and making use of gossipy schoolchildren.

He is critical of parts of the U.S. national pandemic plan that call for the use of quarantine and other imposed types of enforcement should influenza or any other infectious disease bring on a pandemic.

"Never use the police or the military," Henderson told a meeting organized by the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center's Center for Biosecurity, where he works.

"Once we brought military or police in, we found many citizens retired to the woods," Henderson told the meeting on Tuesday.

And when the health teams tried to quarantine families, they found a similar response. "People hid," he said. "They didn't want to be quarantined so they hid cases."

read the whole article.

Posted by dymaxion at May 23, 2006 10:36 PM

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