U.S. Poll Shows Concern About Bird Flu
Potential Spread of Bird Flu in U.S. Is a Concern of Most Americans
WebMD News Archive
Bird Flu Treatment
Just to refresh your memory, bird flu is a virus that usually infects only
birds. However, when people come into close contact with affected birds or if
the makeup of the virus changes people can be infected.
For bacterial infections, such as a strep throat, there are many different
antibiotics available. But for a virus, the antiviral drugs are limited.
Currently, there is no cure for bird flu. Experts had hoped that Tamiflu
might slow the severity or spread of bird flu in the event of a human pandemic.
But In December 2005, researchers reported in The New England Journal of
Medicine that two children in Vietnam who died of bird flu had developed
to Tamiflu. A U.S. health official
has warned that may not be reliable protection against
Willing to Wait for Drugs
The poll shows that most people would be willing to wait behind certain
groups for Tamiflu and other antiviral drugs if there weren't enough doses
during a major outbreak of bird flu in the U.S.
- 80% said they would be willing to wait until doctors and nurses had gotten
- 81% said they would be willing to wait until patients hospitalized with the
flu had gotten the drugs.
- 74% said they would be willing to wait until police and firefighters had
gotten the drugs.
Two-thirds said that if there was an outbreak of bird flu in several
countries and supplies of Tamiflu and other antiviral drugs were limited, the
U.S. should share some of its supply.
The poll shows strong support for quarantining people with bird flu.
Quarantines were defined as being ordered by health officials to stay at home,
away from other people, for two or three weeks.
- 78% said that they thought people with bird flu should be quarantined.
- Almost all (96%) said they would be willing to be quarantined if they had
- Most (83%) also said they would agree to be quarantined if they had been
near someone with bird flu but didn't yet have any symptoms.
However, many participants had concerns about how bird flu would affect
Of the 649 participants who were employed, nearly 60% were concerned that
they wouldn't get paid if they had to stay away from work during a bird flu
outbreak in their state. Almost 40% were concerned that their employers would
make them go to work even if they were sick and there was an outbreak of bird
flu in their state.