Avian Flu and “Fire Blanket”

The Meet the Press discussion on NBC today on the Avian Flu in South East Asia set me thinking about globalization in a different sort of way. Apparently we are 3-5 years from building a vaccine manufacturing capacity. After we do so – the 300 million US population will be able to be vaccinated in six months. A pre-emptive action suggested by the WHO is to have very close feedback from Asian countries so that a "fire blanket" or "quarantine" is placed around the regions to contain and manage the virus at its source. Having been a rural manger in a democratic but traditional country like India for many years I can imagine few in rural Asia admitting that they have the "Avian" flu particularly as the disease seems to progress with identical symptoms as the influenza. No matter how sophisticated the goods or services appear to be from Asia , the level of societal tradition and unnecessary "face saving" are too difficult to imagine sitting in Western Europe or USA. Just as Asians talk less about AIDS than Africans so they are likely to do with Avian Flu.The information will just take too long to put out a quarantine "fire blanket" – let us hope the vaccine and "Tamiflu"  treatment side picks up fast in the globalized world.

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