Temple preparing for possible bird flu epidemic
Temple University is working on a comprehensive plan in preparation for a possible avian flu epidemic.
Avian flu is a virus that spreads among birds, and it can be transmitted from birds to humans under certain conditions. Medical experts are concerned that at some point the flu virus will mutate into one that could be easily — and rapidly — transmitted from person to person.
“Temple is closely monitoring the situation and planning in advance so that if needed we can respond quickly to help students, employees and the local community,” said Vice President William Bergman, who is heading up a working group at Temple.
The working group, made up of leaders from the University and the Temple University Health System, has been working since early summer to prepare for a potential bird flu outbreak. The group is looking at all aspects of University business including education, research, patient care and community outreach, as well as following guidance from local, state, federal and world health agencies.
Among the Temple agencies involved in the planning process is C-PREP, the Center for Preparedness Research, Education and Practice. Alice Hausman, C-PREP’s executive director, said the work going on now will pay off in the future.
“As we have come to learn in recent years, preparing in advance is the best way to keep you and your family safe and healthy,” Hausman said. “It’s important to get informed now. There are excellent resources that can help people get ready for avian flu, or other potential emergencies.”
Among the sources of information tracking avian flu are the Department of Health and Human Services at www.pandemicflu.gov and the World Health Organization at www.who.int/csr/disease/avian_influenza/en. Good information is also available through the Centers for Disease Control at www.cdc.gov/flu/avian/gen-info/qa.htm.
With almost 10,000 students living on or near Temple’s Main Campus, the University is working to provide information and resources to its students and their families.
Among the resources will be a Web site dedicated to the avian flu, www.temple.edu/info/avianflu.
The Web site will go live on Sept. 21.
— Ray Betzner
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