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    Bird Flu Threat Looms Large As Response Remains Insufficient

    As an outbreak of bird flu continues to spread unabated across America's livestock herds, experts warn that the threat posed by this deadly virus remains underappreciated. In an published by CNN, respected public leader Dr. Tom Frieden raises concerns that US authorities have been too slow to curb the spread of H5N1 avian influenza, which now impacts cattle in over half of US states.

    According to Frieden, who led the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for eight years, neighboring country Finland provides an example of how rapid and coordinated interventions can successfully halt avian influenza transmission before it endangers human lives. Within days of detecting the virus in mink, Finnish officials mapped out the full extent of infection, compensated affected farms, and protected at-risk workers – stamping out the outbreak before it could take hold.

    By contrast, the US response appears to have lagged by over three months from the virus' initial appearance in cattle herds. Comprehensive testing and case tracking remain lacking, undermining efforts to understand the true scope of the outbreak. Dr. Frieden argues stronger cooperation is needed between human and animal health agencies at all governance levels to facilitate open data sharing and clear public communication.

    As summer approaches and migratory bird patterns shift infections rates, the window to curb bird flu spread is closing. Without rebuilding eroded trust between officials and at-risk farming communities, and equipping local authorities with needed resources, America risks facing a far larger epidemic in the fall. By learning from Finland's example of rapid, coordinated prevention, we can still hope to avoid the most dire consequences of this ongoing health threat. Our sector and population remains at risk until every branch of government makes avian influenza response a top priority.

    The Northlines is an independent source on the Web for news, facts and figures relating to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and its neighbourhood.

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