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September 20, 2006

Outgoing CDC flu chief:" International community not sharing bird flu battle burden"

Via C-Health, Helen Branswell reports: Int'l community not sharing bird flu battle burden: CDC. Excerpt:

The international community is not bearing enough of the burden of combating H5N1 avian flu, leaving too much of the work to some of the world's poorer countries, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control's outgoing flu czar said Wednesday.

Dr. Jim LeDuc said countries like Vietnam have paid a huge price to try to lower the risk that the virus will spark a human flu pandemic, without adequate compensation from developing countries in the form of guarantees of access to antiviral drugs or vaccines that might be created to protect against the virus.

"We as a global community have asked the least developed nations of the world to bear the brunt of controlling this," LeDuc told participants at a conference on the legal and ethical issues of mitigating pandemic disease hosted by the U.S. Institute of Medicine.

LeDuc admitted the gap between what is being asked and what is being offered troubles him deeply.

"We also have not so far done a good job in recognizing, not only the sacrifices, but the accomplishments countries like Vietnam and Thailand have attained in addressing avian influenza," said LeDuc, who leaves the CDC for the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston in early November.

"I don't think we've appreciated as much as we should the efforts of countries like Vietnam and Thailand - and China to some extent - that have really aggressively intervened. The ones that have sacrificed these hundreds of thousands, millions of chickens and millions and millions of dollars lost."

As always with a Branswell story, read the whole thing.

Posted by dymaxion at September 20, 2006 10:42 PM

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