Economic development officials in Des Moines talked about the potential impact of an avian flu outbreak in a roundtable discussion this morning. Mahesh Kumar of Fort Dodge Animal Health says a low-level avian flu has been in the United States, but a foreign strain of the virus is causing concern. He says the Asian “H5N1″ strain is the concern because it hasn’t entered the human population in the U.S. and there’s no natural immunity to the strain.
Kumar says the government is taking the right steps to meet the challenge. Kumar says,”I think we’re doing as much as we can, based on what (information) we have.” Kumar says we are stockpiling the vaccinations and hopefully when the virus shows up, everyone will get a vaccination and there will hopefully be enough vaccine available.
Kumar says the public should know that U.S. poultry is safe now, and as time goes on, we’re more prepared to battle the virus. He says the longer it (the virus) takes to get here, the better prepared we’ll be, and Kumar says he thinks the government is doing everything it can to prepare. Kumar says the only thing the public can do at this point is stay informed.
Kumar says, “Just be aware of going on.” He says if the virus would show up, there are systems in place to handle it and the public needs to be ready to get the vaccinations. Several agribusiness and animal medicine professionals attended today’s roundtable.