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Bird Flu and H5N1 Virus


In this edition of Hello Washington (2-8-06) the topic of discussion was Bird Flu and the H5N1 virus. Our panelists included Dr. M. Zaman, Dr. Rupa Banerjee and Professor A. B. M. Faroque.

World Health Organization’s pandemic expert Margaret Chan has said that when one country is not safe, the entire world is unsafe. The H5N1 avian flu strain has killed more than 85 people in Asia since 2003. However, scientists are concerned that the virus might mutate to a strain that can easily pass from human to human. WHO is urging nations to prepare for a possible flu pandemic and to be ready to counterattack against any sign of it.

Callers asked a range of questions including what are the symptoms of Avian flu, what are the medical treatment and remedy of this disease, why is it considered epidemic or pandemic etcetera ?

Dr. M. Zaman is a specialist of infectious diseases at a hospital in New Jersey, USA. He said that preventive measures should be taken and that is vital. He also said diagnosis for this disease is difficult and World Health Organization is playing an important role in helping out.

Dr. Rupa Banerjee is a gold medalist physician of Kolkata Medical College and working at a hospital in Hyderabad, India. She focused on the necessity of surveillance and spoke about the drug Tamiflu that is now being marketed in India.

Professor A. B. M. Faroque is the Chairman, Department of Pharmaceutical Technology at University of Dhaka. He said people have to be made aware about the dangers of this disease and governments should give compensation to farmers who destroy all the birds when there is contamination.

Sarkar Kabiruddin hosted the show.

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