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Bird flu tsar to prepare for a pandemic

Published on 20/10/2005

20 October 2005

BRUSSELS – A special commissioner was on Thursday appointed to manage Belgium’s masterplan for the event of a bird flu pandemic.

An inter-ministerial conference on public health picked Piet Vanthemsche for the job.

He will be charged with ensuring the Belgian public is correctly informed about bird flu, that the necessary steps are taken to prevent the spread of the flu in poultry and that the country is prepared for the eventuality of a human bird flu pandemic.

“The measures which are being taken in Belgium are similar to those being taken by our neighbouring countries,” said Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt.

He insisted there was “no reason to panic in our country”, but like other European countries, Belgium needed to be prepared in case a pandemic broke out.

Health Minister Rudy Demotte again recommended elderly people, health workers and those working with poultry to have themselves vaccinated against the ordinary flu.

[Copyright Expatica News 2005]

Subject: Belgian news