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Article Last Updated: 4/13/2006 06:34 PM
Bird flu summit
By Andrea Gusty, CBS 11 News Reporter KTVA http://www.ktva.com/topstory/ci_3707816

The birds are on their way back from the South and talks of bird flu are in the air. Thursday, community and business leaders were here from all over the state to talk about a possible bird flu outbreak.

Health officials anticipate a lot of phone calls this summer about possible bird infections, so they want to make sure organizations and businesses are prepared statewide….

“Part of the program today is to think about how we are prepared as a nation, how are we prepared as a state, and how are we prepared in the different parts of Alaska. Local planning can be very different from one part of the state to another,” said Dr. Jay Butler, Alaska Division of Public Health.

“We don’t have enough hospital capacity in the state, particularly in the village areas, to handle a pandemic. So, bringing together the partners now to start thinking about that and talking about that is very critical,” said Karleen Jackson, Commissioner, Alaska Department of Health and Social Services.

For more information on the risks of bird flu in Alaska, and what the state is doing to get ready for a possible outbreak, visit www.pandemicflu.alaska.gov .

To contact Andrea, call 907-273-3186


Alaska Natives likely to be exposed to bird flu
14 Apr 2006 01:28:21 GMT, Source: Reuters

By Yereth Rosen

ANCHORAGE, Alaska, April 13 (Reuters) – Alaska Natives may be the the most likely people in North America to be exposed to the avian flu virus because they depend for food on wild migratory birds from Asia, a health care expert said on Thursday.

Alaska is a probable point of entry for the H5N1 strain of bird flu, because it is at the crossroads of wild waterfowl and shorebird migration to and from Asia.

Native Alaskans are likely to come in contact with infected ducks and geese, but the government’s advice for avoiding infection, such as washing thoroughly when handling hunted birds, makes little sense for people living and working in a wilderness environment.

“I don’t know anybody in any of the villages who has rubber gloves in their hunting gear, or hand sanitizer,” said Patricia Cochran, executive director of the Alaska Native Science Commission, at a pandemic flu planning summit organized by federal and state agencies.

“Sometimes we need … a bit of a reality check,” she said.”

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