More Action Needed to Fight the Flu

BRUSSELS, Belgium-Public health officials are asking for governments to take more action against influenza. Citing the thousands of deaths each year attributable to the virus, healthcare professionals are asking for help today before another outbreak occurs.

A new report, "Influenza: A Race Against Time," was recently released in Brussels at an international health conference. Within the report, officials ask for better public understanding of the virus, more vaccinations, and more access to improved treatments. They predict if these options are utilized, thousands of lives can be saved.

The report also cites several statistics including financial motivation for governments to develop and implement a national pandemic preparedness plan, originally established by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1999. More than 10% of all work absences are attributed to influenza and in the US more than 30 million cases of the virus are reported annually. There are also more than 20,000 deaths caused by the flu in the US each year.

The report was funded through an educational grant from Roche and Retroscreen Virology.