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PUT AWAY YOUR TOYS: Sunday brought perfect weather for hot-air ballooning over the Old Mendon Highway -- but when it's over, you still have to pack up. / Photo by Nancy Williams

Today's word on journalism

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

"Paranoia means having all the facts."

--William S. Burroughs, Beat Generation writer (1914-1997)

Hyrum considers how to prepare to battle avian flu

By Ryan M. Monk

September 25, 2006 | HYRUM -- Hyrum city is considering preparing for the bird flu. At Thursday's City Council meeting, Jan Cavanagh, a registered nurse, told council members what the town should do about the avian flu.

"It's not a matter of if it is going to happen but when," said Cavanagh, who spoke to the council at the invitation of the mayor. "We are facing flu season coming up." The more opportunities avian flu has to mix with the typical human seasonal flu, the greater the likelihood it will acquire the mutations it needs to spread, she said.

"If this happens within six weeks the worldwide population will be fighting a pandemic," she said.

You need the virus first to have the vaccine, said Cavanagh, and it could take six months to have a vaccine because we import them to this country and by that time the disease will be worldwide.

"Any effort made will not be wasted," said Cavanagh. She suggested the town cross-train employees in the sanitation department and members of the community to clean the water supply.

"Chlorine is cheap," she said, we should have an extra supply as it's needed to clean water, and for $60 we could get a supply of masks and gloves that city workers could use.

Mayor Dean Howard encouraged these precautions saying, "A few boxes of sanitary products and masks isn't going to break the city."

To learn more about avian flu, visit www.cdc.gov/flu/avian/index.htm.

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