Are We Prepared For An Avian Flu Pandemic At Utsc? By Vmk

2666 words - 11 pages

University of Toronto Scarborough Campus:Are We Prepared?IntroductionH5N1 presents a serious concern in regard to the possibility of large scale globalepidemic. Unfortunately, relatively little attention has been given to preparing for thispossibility. Even national preparedness in terms of getting ready for a H5N1 pandemic islacking. It is not difficult to imagine that inadequate preparation exists on the smallerscale as well. Every organization, whether it is a private business, a small community, ora local school district should have plans in place for dealing with an outbreak of H5N1.Universities are certainly no exception in this regard. Because universities are responsiblefor the health and welfare of thousands of students and employees, and in some respectsare self-contained communities that host people with few if any close outsideconnections, universities in particular should have well-thought-out emergencypreparedness plans in place for pandemic type problems. The intent of this paper is topresent considerations for such a plan for the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus(UTSC).UTSC ProfileUTSC is responsible for the lives and welfare of thousands of people. Thisresponsibility is the main concern in the event of a pandemic. As of the 2005/2006school year there were 8,719 full time undergraduate students enrolled at UTSC(University of Toronto Scarborough, 2007). On top of this the university's responsibilityextends to an additional 828 part-time undergraduate students, 322 graduate students, 228fulltime and 17 part time academic and/or librarian staff, and 291 fulltime and 28 part-time non-academic staff (University of Toronto Scarborough, 2007). UTSC students andstaff occupy 25 buildings and 767 students residences (University of TorontoScarborough, 2007).Pandemic VirusBird Flu is an influenza virus, one strain of which is technically knownas H5N1. H5N1 is an influenza strain that has mutated and now can be passed fromhuman to human. H5N1 ("Bird Flu") was a subject of tremendous press coverage justlast year, but today that coverage has largely dissipated (Barry, 2007). The virus,however, is still alive and well in Indonesia, China, Egypt, and Vietnam (Centers forDisease Control, 2007). In actuality, the world has known about the unmutated form ofthe virus for decades. The threat of pandemic infections, however, has only arisenrecently. After an absence of almost seventy years the virus recently reappeared on aJapanese chicken farm in 2004 (Inoue, 2004). Wahlberg (2007) reports that (as ofOctober 7, 2007), of the 329 people known to have been infected by H5N1, 201 havedied. Despite the slaughtering of 100 million birds, H5N1 is still in Southeast Asia(Mackellar, 2007).Concern over H5N1 revolves around its potential to kill hundreds ofthousands of people. Currently the virus is believed to be transmitted, primarily at least,from birds to humans. If the virus mutates to the point that it can pass from human tohuman it is very likely...

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