Bird Flu Conference at Texas A&M

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The threat of bird flu has been in the media spotlight for quite a while. Wednesday Texas A&M's Health Science Center Office of Homeland Security hosted a conference on the issue for over 70 national and local health officials. Experts took an in depth look at planning for the potential outbreak of bird flu in this country.

" We expect that at some time there will be a serious influenza that will return. So the concern is that we want to know as much as we can about it, both in the medicine and in the public health standpoint," said Colonel Matthew Dolan with the U.S. Air Force Medical Corps addressed health officials at a bird flu conference at Texas A&M.

Dolan talked about new scientific research and the need to work together when it comes to planning for a bird flu pandemic.

" The purpose of the conference is to put everything new on the table that we know of in terms of education, innovations, and best practices in a forum where people can take it back to their hospitals," said Dr Paul Carlton, Director of Homeland Security for Texas A&M's Health Science Center.

There are several recommendations for handling a bird flu pandemic, but experts here say there is no blanket solution for the entire country. So it's up to individual states, regions, and cities to figure out what works best for them.

Some recommendations include a general vaccine but some doctors say it would be difficult because there are different types of strands of the disease.

The conference also focused on hospital preparedness including isolation control and a new triage system.

Although officials are working hard to come up with a plan for action should a bird flu outbreak strike the U.S., they say there are things the public should do as well.

" The public needs to understand that the U.S. Is doing what they need to do in terms of vaccine preparation and dressing the community and really the publics obligation is to stay healthy," said Carlton.

Researches from several departments at A&M will play an active role in planning for a bird flu pandemic.