Bird flu virus task forces

PUBLISHED: 09:26 13 March 2006 | UPDATED: 08:58 24 May 2010

TWO emergency task forces have been set-up by North Somerset Council to look at how to deal with deadly outbreaks of bird flu and a human flu pandemic. The move comes after the spread of the highly contagious H5N1 virus, or bird flu, reached France and We

TWO emergency task forces have been set-up by North Somerset Council to look at how to deal with deadly outbreaks of bird flu and a human flu pandemic.The move comes after the spread of the highly contagious H5N1 virus, or bird flu, reached France and Western Europe.The groups have been set up by the council's emergency management unit to make sure the authority is prepared to deal with outbreaks and can keep services running in the face of a pandemic of human flu.The first meeting of the avian flu working group, which includes representatives of the National Farmers Union (NFU), the police and council staff, was held on Monday.It has been set up to look at what action would need to be taken in the event of an outbreak.The group is already identifying all the poultry premises in the area.The H5N1 virus is naturally occurring in wild birds. They are not badly affected by it, but domestic poultry such as chickens are, and so are people.The pandemic flu working group, which is looking at human outbreaks of flu, has held two meetings.The group's main aim is to make sure essential services would continue if there is large-scale staff sickness.If there was an outbreak, its key tasks would include redeploying staff to different departments, supporting vulnerable people in the community, providing mass vaccination centres, managing public events and gatherings and supporting the NHS.

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