Dr. D.A. Henderson, who helped wipe out smallpox around the world, has a little piece of advice for governments fighting bird flu — don’t use the military or police to enforce public health.
Henderson, who likes to describe how he was vaccinated thousands of times against smallpox to demonstrate the immunization’s safety to wary villagers, says it is much easier to halt epidemics by winning the trust of community leaders and making use of gossipy schoolchildren.
He is critical of parts of the U.S. national pandemic plan that call for the use of quarantine and other imposed types of enforcement should influenza or any other infectious disease bring on a pandemic.
“Never use the police or the military,” Henderson told a meeting organized by the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s Center for Biosecurity, where he works.
“Once we brought military or police in, we found many citizens retired to the woods,” Henderson told the meeting on Tuesday.
There are very few people in this world that I love, or trust, well enough that when they say “jump”, I ask without hesitating, “how high”.
DA falls into the unlimited trust category of that personal rule.