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Morgan: Government must be prepared for bird flu threat

Speech to the National Assembly for Wales.

"You referred in the statement to the threat which might occur if avian flu mixes with the human flu virus. It was avian flu which caused the pandemic back in 1918, when it mixed with the human flu virus.

Does the Government have any plans to extend the range of vaccinations for certain categories of people within Wales? Do your colleagues in the UK Government have plans to extend vaccinations on the other side of the border for the flu virus that currently occurs? That could be instrumental in the event of avian flu hitting the UK.

Expanding on what you said about the vaccine's having to be well matched to the virus in order to protect us, can you confirm that strains such as H5N1 have many variations?

If you look at the cases that have occurred so far, there has been a whole raft of variations of the same strain. Does that make it more difficult to produce an effective vaccine to combat this particular strain, and, if so, what work is being done to research this area of health work?

You said that health professionals will play a major role, so they need to be well prepared. I understand that researchers and scientists examining cases in Vietnam have been concerned because bird flu can affect all parts of the body, and not just the lungs.

For some time, it was regarded as almost the norm that the lungs of somebody who contracted bird flu would be affected, but it has now been established that other parts of the body can also be affected. Therefore, can you give us some assurance that there will be training for medical professionals in Wales and throughout the UK so that they will know what to look for?

There is also concern with regard to the research that is currently under way on the effectiveness of antiviral drugs such as Tamiflu. I understand that one patient in Vietnam was partially resistant to Tamiflu.

Is any research being conducted on the effectiveness of this antiviral drug, or is any other research being undertaken on any other antiviral drugs that could be used in the event of this occurring?

You referred in your statement to the media's being responsible in terms of the way in which it prepares information about this issue and the way in which the Government responds.

Given that the severe acute respiratory syndrome virus has killed 800 people and infected 8,400 people worldwide since November 2002, what are you and your colleagues in other parts of the UK doing to ensure that our journalists are better briefed so that when they write stories about this, they get the facts right and do not use language that can inflame a nervous and emotional situation, given that other viruses and diseases have killed larger numbers of people?"

"Cyfeiriasoch yn y datganiad at y bygythiad a allai ddigwydd pe bai ffliw adar yn cymysgu â'r firws ffliw dynol. Ffliw adar a achosodd y pandemig yn ôl ym 1918, pan gymysgodd â firws y ffliw dynol.

A oes gan y Llywodraeth unrhyw gynlluniau i ehangu'r amrediad o frechiadau i gategorïau penodol o bobl yng Nghymru? A oes gan eich cyd-aelodau yn Llywodraeth y Deyrnas Unedig gynlluniau i ehangu brechiadau dros y ffin ar gyfer y firws ffliw sydd eisoes yn digwydd? Gallai hynny fod yn berthnasol pe bai ffliw adar yn taro'r Deyrnas Unedig.

Ac ymhelaethu ar yr hyn a ddywedasoch ynghylch bod angen i'r brechlyn fod yn gymharus â'r firws er mwyn ein gwarchod, a allwch gadarnhau fod sawl amrywiad i rywogaethau fel H5N1? Os edrychwch ar yr achosion sydd wedi digwydd hyd yn hyn, cafwyd llu o amrywiadau o'r un rhywogaeth.

A yw hynny'n ei gwneud hi'n anoddach cynhyrchu brechlyn effeithiol i ymladd yn erbyn y rhywogaeth arbennig hon, ac, os ydyw, pa waith sydd ar droed i ymchwilio i'r maes hwn o waith iechyd?

Dywedasoch y bydd gweithwyr iechyd proffesiynol yn chwarae rhan bwysig, felly mae angen iddynt fod wedi'u paratoi'n dda. Deallaf fod ymchwilwyr a gwyddonwyr a fu'n archwilio achosion yn Fietnam wedi bod yn bryderus oherwydd y gall ffliw adar effeithio ar bob rhan o'r corff, nid dim ond yr ysgyfaint.

Am gyfnod, ystyrid mai'r norm bron fyddai yr effeithid ar ysgyfaint rhywun fyddai wedi dal ffliw'r adar, ond bellach sefydlwyd y gellir effeithio ar rannau eraill o'r corff hefyd. Felly, a allwch roi rhyw sicrwydd inni y darperir hyfforddiant i weithwyr meddygol proffesiynol yng Nghymru a thrwy'r Deyrnas Gyfunol gyfan er mwyn iddynt wybod am beth i chwilio?

Mae pryder hefyd ynglyn â'r ymchwil sydd ar droed ar hyn o bryd i effeithiolrwydd cyffuriau gwrthfirol megis Tamiflu. Deallaf fod un claf yn Fietnam yn rhannol ymwrthol i Tamiflu.

A oes unrhyw ymchwil yn cael ei wneud i effeithiolrwydd y cyffur gwrthfirol hwn, neu a oes unrhyw ymchwil yn cael ei wneud i unrhyw gyffuriau gwrthfirol eraill y gellid eu defnyddio pe digwyddai hyn?

Cyfeiriasoch yn eich datganiad fod y cyfryngau wedi bod yn gyfrifol o ran y ffordd y maent yn paratoi gwybodaeth am y mater hwn a'r modd y mae'r Llywodraeth yn ymateb.

Gan fod firws y syndrom anadlu llym difrifol wedi lladd 800 o bobl ac wedi heintio 8,400 o bobl ledled y byd er mis Tachwedd 2002, beth ydych chi a'ch cyd-aelodau mewn rhannau eraill o'r Deyrnas Unedig yn ei wneud i sicrhau fod ein newyddiadurwyr yn cael eu briffio'n well er mwyn sicrhau, pan ysgrifennant storïau ynglyn â hyn, y cânt y ffeithiau'n iawn ac na ddefnyddiant iaith a all roi petrol ar fflamau sefyllfa nerfus ac emosiynol, o gofio bod firysau a chlefydau eraill wedi lladd niferoedd mwy o bobl?"

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