Mon, Apr 15, 2013 - Page 3 News List

Government agencies gearing up for flu pandemic

By Alison Hsiao  /  Staff reporter

Aside from the establishment of a central command center for disease monitoring and surveillance, government ministries and bureaus are gearing up for a possible H7N9 avian flu pandemic.

The Bureau of National Health Insurance (NHI) said it would employ all available resources to cooperate with the Central Epidemic Command Center on closely monitoring the spread of H7N9 avian influenza, as well as on other preventative measures, saying that it would draw on its experience containing the SARS outbreak.

The Ministry of Economic Affairs promised to respect decisions made by central health authorities to halt live poultry slaughter in traditional markets and restrict live poultry trading in case of an epidemic.

When a suspected case of H7N9 infection is reported, the NHI database can be accessed to see whether there are other cases reported in the patient’s community or workplace, the Bureau of National Health Insurance said, in an effort to monitor clusters of infections.

Details on healthcare workers who have been in contact with patients and patients’ clinic visits and hospitalization records would also be reported to the Central Epidemic Command Center and related hospitals as part of wider efforts to prevent the disease from spreading, it said.

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