Tags: Report: | Hospitals | May | Spread | Bird | Flu

Report: Hospitals May Spread Bird Flu

Friday, 09 December 2005 12:00 AM

If bird flu comes your way this winter, your best bet may be to stay as far away as possible from any hospitals.

According to a frightening report from the National Center for Policy Analysis, a nonprofit think-tank in Washington, DC., American hospitals could actually worsen a coming epidemic.

The group predicts that unless hospitals quickly improve their shoddy and ineffective infection-control procedures they may well contribute to the spread of a bird flu pandemic.

"Shoddy infection control is poor preparation for flu and poor homeland security as well," said Betsy McCaughey, a former lieutenant governor of New York who helped write the disturbing report.

The institute report argues that hospitals can be a source for spreading infectious diseases, because health care workers fail to follow even basic hygiene practices such as washing their hands after touching patients and equipment.

A separate report, from the U.S. Congressional Budget Office, predicts that a bird flu pandemic would cost the U.S. economy $675 billion if 30 percent of the population were infected - as has been the case in the past three pandemics.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) said the report assumes a 2.5 percent mortality rate, that the pandemic would last for three months and that 30 percent of the workforce would become ill and miss three weeks of work.

The Budget Office report says people would stay home and reduce turnout at restaurants, shopping malls, sporting events, churches and schools.

Demand would drop by 80 percent for entertainment, arts, recreation, restaurants, and lodging, and retail trade would fall by 25 percent, the report predicts.

U.S. President George W. Bush released a $7.1 billion bird flu plan in November but Congress has yet to fund it. Frist said he hopes for legislation before the recess later this month.

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If bird flu comes your way this winter, your best bet may be to stay as far away as possible from any hospitals. According to a frightening report from the National Center for Policy Analysis, a nonprofit think-tank in Washington, DC., American hospitals could actually...
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2005-00-09
Friday, 09 December 2005 12:00 AM
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