Learning from Bird Flu

Running Head: Bird Flu

Lessons from Hong Kong Bird Flu out Break
                                                            Grand Canyon University
History of Emergency Management:

November 7th 2010:

This paper discuses how the authorities in Hong Kong addressed the problem of successive bird flu out breaks and how these lessons can be applied in other epidemics and future outbreaks. The paper explains why the measures taken were effective or ineffective and gives recommendations on what the proper action should be in case of a repeat of such scenarios.

      Hong Kong was first hit by a crisis in the form of a bird flu outbreak in 1997.That first outbreak led to the infection of a total of 18 people. Out of these, six people died with the first one being diagnosed with a new influenza virus not before identified in human beings (Ring Surf, 2009). 1.2 million Chickens were also killed in a bid to avert the spread of the disease in Hong Kong though in an uncoordinated manner that attracted a lot of criticism from people. Even after the first person died, the ministry of health did not concern itself overly with controlling the spread of the flu. The public did not have the right information and knowledge of identifying, preventing, and dealing with the disease (Currie, Peterson and Mok, 2006, P 56).
This situation went on relatively unabated until late December of that year when the H5N1 virus started to spread rapidly. There was widespread panic and many people rushed to emergency wards of hospitals fearing that they had been infected with the virus. At about the same time senior government officials publicly announced that it was safe to eat chicken. This did nothing to stop the public fears from increasing. It was only after sustained pressure from the media that the government took proper action. It first ordered the killing of all chicken present in Hong Kong (Currie, Peterson and Mok, 2006, P 56). The first culling of...