Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:


Research confirms human to human transmission of avian flu

BMJ 2005; 330 doi: (Published 27 January 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;330:211

Rapid Response:

Sit-up and take notice

Scott Gottlieb's article highlights what is now an actual threat to
the world's population. The Tsunami in Asia illustrated one acute natural
trauma with thousands of deaths, that catastrophe pales into
insignificance when compared with an influenza pandemic. Hundreds of
millions will die if the world does not act to prevent this developing
pandemic. Development of vaccines against H5N1 needs Governmental pump-
priming as will the stockpiling of neuraminidase inhibitors which should
be effective against Avian Flu.

General Practitioners and other prescribing practitioners must learn
the practicalities of treating epidemic or pandemic influenza and be
prepared to prescribe appropriately in all cases of true influenza in
order to gain experience with the available drugs as well as encouraging
increased pharmaceutical company capacity.

It is many years since a pandemic struck.... we have become
complacent in that time. Burying governmental heads under the sand may
have some benefits in many political areas but will be disastrous in terms
of pandemic planning.

Competing interests:
None declared

Competing interests: No competing interests

28 January 2005
Nigel Higson
GP and Chairman of Primary Care Virology Group
Hove BN3 3DX