Advice for health care workers on severe and emerging communicable respiratory diseases

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your assistance in protecting the health of Bahrain from serious communicable respiratory diseases, such as avian influenza (‘bird flu’) and SARS; diseases that Bahrain Public Health Directorate, Diseases Control Section are taking very seriously.

Outbreaks of avian influenza A (H5N1 subtype) during 2004 and 2005 in neighbouring Asian countries have heightened the level of alert towards the likelihood of an influenza pandemic occurring. Since January 2004, millions of poultry have been slaughtered to contain the outbreaks and a number of people have contracted the disease. There is a real risk that efficient human to human spread of this disease may occur.
The occurrence of influenza pandemics is difficult to predict, but experts agree that another influenza pandemic may occur at any time. The World Health Organization (WHO) warns that the avian influenza virus may combine with existing human influenza viruses, resulting in a new viral strain that can easily spread from human to human; a virus with pandemic potential. Urbanisation, accompanied by overcrowded and unhygienic living conditions mean that epidemics can quickly take hold. The ease of international travel makes possible a rapid global spread of a pandemic. The first cases of pandemic influenza are likely to appear in incoming air travellers.

This kit is a resource for pandemic preparedness, but can be used at any time when dealing with suspected cases of sever or emerging respiratory disease. It contains the following sheets:

  1. About avian influenza.

  2. Case definition of avian influenza

  3. A brochure Preparing for an influenza Pandemic, which provides guidance in the recognition and management of cases of severe respiratory illness in people who have traveled to areas at risk, as well as information on what to expect during a pandemic.

  4. A poster for your waiting rooms to assist members of the public to identify themselves as at-risk.

  5. A poster for health care workers with information on respiratory hygiene and infection control.

  6. A fact sheet on influenza for members of the public. (Frequently asked questions)

  7. A fact sheet on infection control for health care workers.

  8. Sample of the health information "try safer fly" to all incoming passengers during the pandemic.

  9. Sample of the Health Declaration Card that will be required to be filled out by all incoming passengers and crews in the event of a respiratory outbreak.

  10. Traveler bulletin

  11. A summary review of action taken according to place time and responsible institution.

I urge you to take some time to examine the contents and to keep this kit as a resource for your work place.

Dr. Nada Haffadh
Minister of Health

Bahrain Plan
Health Care
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