The bird flu has become a problem for Americans in the past few years. There is a common fear that the bird flu may become a pandemic, as it spreads to major cities such as New York City. New York City has taken the initiative of developing a bird flu contingency plan. The officials of the city drew up a plan that outlined how an outbreak could be recognized and contained, and how resources such as ventilators and antiviral medicine could be distributed evenly. Mayor Michael Bloomberg urged citizens to take the possibility of bird flu pandemic very seriously. It has also been noted that New York would have to rely on itself rather than Washington, to vaccinate people, to get information out, and help people at hospitals and at their homes. Those things are not done on a federal level, and must be performed by the state.
According to Dr. Thomas Frieden, the City Health Commissioner, the worst the city can expect would be 2.5 million people infected and 56,000 deaths throughout the city. The city would have a difficult time obtaining medicine and equipment, and it would take six to nine months for a vaccine to be developed. New York Cityâ€™s primary contingency plan is to communicate with city doctors, in order to detect early occurrences of the virus. New Yorkâ€™s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has developed a system that can monitor ambulance runs, emergency room visits and pharmacy sales. However, the basic flu-containment strategies will be employed by the city first. Officials urge citizens to cover their mouths when they cough or sneeze, and not to go outside if they have a fever or a cough. People are the cityâ€™s first line of defense against the spreading of the bird flu, and precautionary measures taken by citizens can help stop a possible pandemic.
New York Cityâ€™s bird flu contingency plan covers all major health areas involved in a pandemic, such as disease monitoring, laboratory capacity, vaccine and medicine delivery, and hospital preparedness. The contingency plan shows how the city will implement infection control, address surge capacity in hospitals, and enact disease containment measures. The disease containment measures include closing schools, and limiting public gatherings. According to New York health officials, even the best contingency plan could not prevent the social and economic chaos a pandemic would bring, although good plans could help lessen the impact of a pandemic. If there was an outbreak of the bird flu, the health care system would be overburdened and there would be massive reductions in workforce availability in all business sectors. Employees in all sectors will become ill or will remain home to care for ill family members.
New York Cityâ€™s contingency plan includes measures from large-scale emergency responses exercises to a simulated biological attack on the city. The contingency plan is essentially a response to the spread of the deadly H5N1 bird flu virus, which was found in 60 countries in the past few years. The H5N1 virus does not spread between people, but people who come in contact with sick birds can contract the disease. The disease may become a pandemic if it mutates into a disease transmissible between humans. New York Cityâ€™s contingency plan is preparing the city for any occurrence of the bird flu. The bird flu is not a pandemic, but New Yorkâ€™s official are aware of the possibility of the bird flu becoming a pandemic. New York City is one of the biggest cities in America, and a pandemic in that city could be disastrous for the rest of the country. Therefore, New York has taken precautionary measures to prevent bird flu pandemic.
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