May 9, 2006 – Posted at 2:12 p.m. CDT
JONESBORO, AR – Tuesday night ABC is showing Fatal Contact: Bird Flu in America . It shows mass casualties, worldwide panic and a lack of resources to combat the Avian Flu Virus as it fictionally spreads throughout the United States. The bird flu has not made it to America yet, but the movie poses the question "what if."
The illusory movie depicts the virus mutating and spreading from human to human. But it's a far cry from reality according to Kathryn Blackman, St. Bernards Medical Center Assistant Vice President of Education.
"The thing everyone needs to remember is that the bird flu is not transmissible human to human," said Blackman.
The Avian Flu originated in the Far East and there have been no reported cases in the U.S.
"Even if the Avian Flu comes to the U.S., which it probably will because of the migratory pattern of wild birds, that doesn't mean we will have a pandemic from bird flu," reassured Blackman.
Blackman says people in the Far East contracted the bird flu from living in close contact with chickens or other wild fowl, not from just eating poultry. She suggests getting a flu shot.
"Even if it's not the exact flu that goes around that year, it could give you some protection from what is going around," said Blackman.
Health experts say one of the best and easiest ways to keep viruses from spreading is just be sure to wash your hands. It's important for people not to panic Blackman says, but to be prepared.
"People should know where to seek help should they need it, having medications they need and know the importance of good health and hygiene practices," said Blackman.