News+and+politics religion philosophy the cynic librarian: WHO Deals with Human H5N1 (aka Bird) Flu Epidemic Ethics

Friday, March 10, 2006

WHO Deals with Human H5N1 (aka Bird) Flu Epidemic Ethics

The following article is important reading beyond the mere fact that WHO is training over 100 (that's all?) experts to deal with an outbreak of a human form of the H5N1 flu virus (aka Bird Flu). In other words, who gets saved and who doesn't? ...

According to Reuters:

But the measures themselves raise difficult ethical issues, some of which remain unresolved, according to Fukuda.

"We made a great deal of progress on discussing some of these issues but it is quite complicated ... The whole idea of quarantine and containment is probably the biggest unresolved issue," he said.

"If, for example, you draw a big circle and say this is a quarantine zone, then issues come up. Do you keep people inside, do you keep people from the outside from moving in there, what kind of restrictions are there, what are the ethical considerations?" he said.

Solutions will vary on whether the pandemic strain emerges in a rural setting or large city, and there is "no single generic plan", according to Fukuda.
That's just the problem. Read the rest of the article for how they hope to resolve the problem and why. In the parlance of philosophers, this is a case of the "happiness of the many outweighs the happiness of the few."

Related Links

My Previous Posts on H5N1

No comments: