Posted: November 02, 2005
MEDIA ADVISORY: UNT HEALTH SCIENCE CENTER PRESIDENT COMMENTS ON AVIAN INFLUENZA
President George Bush announced today (Nov. 1) in a speech at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md. a plan for funding early detection, containment and treatment of a possible avian flu outbreak. This strategy of investing in technology for greater vaccine production calls for the creation of new flu vaccines and stockpiling antiviral drugs.
Ronald Blanck, DO, president of UNT Health Science Center at Fort Worth, can comment on President Bush’s plan to fight avian influenza. Dr. Blanck served as the Army’s Surgeon General and commander of the U.S. Army Medical Command. He is a world-renowned expert in the spread of infectious diseases and is currently consulting to put together an avian influenza response plan. He can speak about vaccinations and how the United States is preparing for the possible spread of the avian flu.
Dr. Blanck says that planning for worst case scenarios is important, but that people shouldn’t overreact to the possibility of an epidemic.
“Even if this strain of influenza reaches epidemic proportions, we have far more tools to deal with it than existed in 1918-1919,” Dr. Blanck said. “We certainly need to plan and have measures in place to deal with the worst case, but we should not overreact.”
Dr. Blanck emphasizes the use of simple precautions to help alleviate spread of the avian virus.
“Simple measures, such as handwashing and avoiding large crowds need to be emphasized as well as using vaccines, personal protection such as masks and anti-viral agents.”
Dr. Blanck continues to be consulted as an advisor on bioterrorism issues and an expert in preparing the medical community to respond to mass casualty incidents or those involving weapons of mass destruction. In addition to his many speaking engagements and advisory positions, he now chairs task forces on bioterrorism for both the Texas Medical Association and the American Osteopathic Association.
Dr. Blanck has appeared in various media as an expert on the spread of infectious diseases and medical preparedness.
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