Bird flu presentation to be held in Tyrone

Tyrone Borough is sponsoring a presentation to help residents prepare for a possible bird flu outbreak.
The program “You’ll Be Awakened” will be held in the LGI Room at the Tyrone Area Elementary School on Sept. 28 from 7 to 9 p.m. The presentation will feature Jennifer Fouse, an infectious disease nurse from the James E. Van Zandt VA Medical Center and Dave Humm, safety officer and co-chair of the Pandemic Flu Task Force.
A flyer on the presentation prepared by the borough noted that every winter the United States suffers a seasonal flu that kills approximately 36,000 Americans and hospitalizes more than 200,000.
The flyer noted that health experts are now warning about a pandemic flu that could kill more than half-a-million Americans, hospitalize more than two million people and cost the economy $70 to $160 billion in lost productivity and direct medical expenses.
The flyer said public health authorities are particularly concerned about the H5N1 avian “bird flu” virus that could mutate into a new strain of flu against which humans would have no immunity.
“The main thing is we are not trying to scare people,” said Humm. “The more people are educated about this pandemic flu the better prepared they will be for when it happens. We want to educate people on what the possibilities and probabilities of this pandemic are going to be.”
Humm said recent statistics show 250 people have been infected with bird flu in other countries and 60 percent of those people have died.
The flyer detailed some possible situations citizens in the United States might have to deal with if the bird flu hits here. For example, businesses and schools might have to shut down and travel could be restricted. Essential government services including sanitation, water, power and social services could be interrupted and the food supply could be affected.
The Sept. 28 event is free and open to the public.