Govt prepared for bird flu
The Indian government has stockpiled 50,000 courses of Tamiflu and is procuring another 20,000. Medicine to treat 1,100 people has been sent to Maharashtra and Gujarat.india Updated: Feb 20, 2006 01:00 IST
The Indian government has stockpiled 50,000 courses of Tamiflu and is procuring another 20,000. Medicine to treat 1,100 people has been sent to Maharashtra and Gujarat.
Navapur district hospital has been provided with four ventilators for its newly set up OPD to separately treat fever-cum-respiratory diseases. Fifteen isolation beds have also been set aside to treat people, should a human outbreak happen.
Any unusual death or sickness among poultry or above average deaths has to be reported to the state and the Centre by the district administration immediately.
Poultry vaccines have been flown to Maharashtra and Gujarat and stocked at Navapur and Aurangabad.
Vineet Chawdhry, joint secretary, Health Ministry, said there was no need to panic and contingency action plans were in place to effectively deal with the outbreak of bird flu in the country.
No effective vaccine
Both Vietnam and Hong Kong have developed a vaccine, but it's not effective. Regular influenza vaccine given to children and people over 50 years won't protect against H5N1. Treatment: since bird flu does not usually infect humans, we have no immune protection against it.
Two antiviral medications — oseltamivir (brandname: Tamiflu) and zanamavir (Relenza)-- work partially and are used to treat influenza caused by H5N1 virus. These have to be taken twice a day as part of a five-day course. The medicine is not available at chemists yet. Only the government has stocks of oseltamivir, which is enough to treat 50,000 people.
Should people take oseltamivir to protect themselves against bird flu?
No. People develop resistance to oseltamivir quickly, so it should not be taken at all unless the person is likely to come into close contact with infected poultry or people.