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Avain Bird Flu

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Death from a Feather?

Avian Influenza Virus (or Avian Bird Flu) is an issue that has recently been on the minds of the people in the United States - or at least an issue that has just resurfaced in our minds due to recent occurrences. One local institution that should be considering the issue of the bird flu is the University of Central Florida (UCF). Even though the flu is distant at the moment, preparation for such a coming is a must. The saying 'it is better to be safe than sorry' has serves a particularly valid point in this case - symptoms of Avian Influenza in humans have ranged from typical human influenza-like symptoms (for example, fever, cough, sore throat, and muscle aches) to eye infections, pneumonia, severe respiratory diseases (such as acute respiratory distress), and other severe and life-threatening complications. When a bird can cause a life-threatening complication, it is something for which we should prepare.

Dr. Michael Deichen, who is the Associate Director of Clinical Services, implemented a vaccination drill to help UCF prepare for potential outbreaks of the Avian Bird Flu. There were three hundred and seventy five people from UCF who were involved the aforementioned completion of this drill. This study was merely to determine how long it would take to administer the vaccine to members of the UCF family and establish a rough estimate of how many people could be treated (since Dr. Deichen's drill simply used cups of chocolate candies to represent the vaccines). Determining the time required to administer the bird flu vaccine is an important step towards helping deal with the problem especially when there are over 40,000 people to consider. This simple little drill can also be used to ascertain an approximation for time required to distribute the vaccination to communities outside of UCF as well. If such a flu pandemic arises, plans have been made in the UCF community to provide four on-campus locations where treatment will be provided (Uknighted Newsletter). These multiple treatment locations will obviously provide more efficient treatment disbursement which will in turn reduce anxiety from the type of people who try overdose on multivitamins in the morning.

However, there is some support to the decision of apathy towards this 'bird flu;' Avian influenza virus refers to influenza A viruses found chiefly in birds, but infections with these viruses can occur in humans. The risk from avian influenza is generally low to most people, because the viruses do not usually infect humans. However, confirmed cases of human infection from several subtypes of avian influenza infection



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