We should not let our guard down against a possible outbreak of bird flu during Spring Festival, says an article in Beijing Times. The following is an excerpt:
With the latest round of attack of the deadly bird flu, the safety of people's lives has been put to the test again. According to latest reports, three people died from the H5N1 strain of avian influenza in China this month and a fourth person remained critically ill. Chen Zhu, the health minister, said on Jan 20 that this is the time when bird flu spreads most easily, and it is difficult to control its spread.
Governments at different levels should build an effective and timely response and a system to control the bird flu. We can see that the performance of the governments in releasing information on the disease, fighting it and hospitalizing the victims has been much better than that during the initial period of the SARS outbreak in 2003.
As Spring Festival is approaching, Chinese will eat more poultry than in normal times. It is necessary to raise their awareness of guarding against bird flu. Meanwhile, Chinese will travel on a massive scale across the country during the festival, which increasesthe risk of the spread of the disease.
The governments and the disease control bodies should not relax during the holiday and must instead strengthen their preparation for a possible outbreak of the disease, though its likelihood is slim.
In 2004, people panicked when the first case of bird flu was reported in China. But now, they are calmly facing the thrteat despite the three recent deaths.
The calmness, however, comes partly from the timely release of information on the disease by the government. But we worry this calmness is not based on realistic knowledge but derives from an indifference to the disease, which may weaken our preparation if there is an outbreak of the disease.