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Position Statement

Discuss about the Measures by the Canadian Tourism Agencies to Curb Avian Flu.

There has been an unindustrialized concern about the possibility of an avian flu pandemic (AFP) and its impacts on the global financial systems, the global economy, and the human life. Such pandemics are common occurrences and they cannot be ignored due to their great impacts. 

Background of Content

On 20th May 2010, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) reported that the highly pathogenic avian influenza virus had invented the Central Fraser Valley (Alhaji and Odetokun, 2011, p. 159). This had caused much impacts to the residents including deaths and the disease was spreading rapidly exposing the lives of people into risk.

Following a previous outbreak in Toronto in the year 2000 which claimed the lives of hundreds of people, the government had to take immediate necessary measures in order to avoid the severe impacts. This necessitated the need for all the sectors of the economy including the tourism sector to join hands and come up with the proper means to combat the situation. The tourism industry was thus made aware and was keen to take responsibility of informing the foreign tourists and even the locals who use the tourism services in order to curb the rapid spread of the virus and achieve a successful outcome. This is because the immediate effects of the impacts would be felt both locally and internationally by the animal and human health. This paper features the tourism industry’s policy to address the outbreak of the avian flu to prevent its adverse effects on the tourist sector among other sectors of the economy in Canada.

The avian flu as defined by Cheng 2011, is a disease which is caused by a virus with numerous types whereby some are more hazardous than others. Highly pathogenic avian flu causes serious diseases in domestic poultry with high mortality rate hence a threat to both human and poultry life. While the scientific study suggests that the entry and spread of the disease find its favorable environment in the domestic poultry, it has proved to be a major concern in the tourism sector since the disease affects human life as well. The disease presents a major concern since when given opportunity, it changes into a form which makes it become highly transmittable for humans and spreads out rapidly from one person to the other (Alhaji and Odetokun, 2011, p.160). Additionally, if not well addressed in good time the spread could mark the beginning of a world outbreak and controlling it may become almost impossible. This necessitated the minister for health in collaboration with tourism industry in Canada to come up with a policy to address the situation as it would cause major negative effects on the tourism sector (Cheng, et al.2011, p.186). According to the WHO, this is necessitated by the fact that the disease has great uncertainties about the virulence, timing, and the general scope of a future pandemic of the humans, assessing the number of people who might fall victims of the disease and the social impact the event might cause.

Background of Content

In contradiction of this framework of a considerable uncertainty about the nature of the pandemic, this paper provides an introductory valuation of the risks and the potential impact it might have on the tourism sector. The Canadian minister for tourism focuses on marketing the tourism destination in order to generate export revenues to the economy. Tourism is one of the sectors that are considered to generate much of the government revenues due to the provision of new dollars to the Canadian economy since an item sold to an international tourist is considered as an export. The avian outbreak may pose the risk of losing many tourists in fear of contracting such a disease (Cheng, et al.2011, p.186). The foreign investors may also flee the country due to such an outbreak hence pose great losses of the foreign income in the economy of Canada. This necessitates the minister for trade and tourism to come up with measures to curb such a disease and avoid such scenarios. 

The outbreak leads to many impacts and the Canadian government adopted some measures to curb the flu and why it emerged as an issue posing global risks in the tourism sector. In 2010, Canada identified avian flu and its spread as an issue of concern in the tourism and indirectly decided to share this as a case of good practice with other NGOs globally via the World Tourism Organization. This issue was further reaffirmed in 2014 when the Global Risks 2014 report showed that an influenza outbreak was one of the major risks facing the global business in 2013 and 2014 hence causing an acute concern (Cheng, et al.2011, p.186). This included the drop in the tourism revenues by 300C$ on the basis of the fear of flying by the other foreigners. In order to focus on the event strategically, the tourism industry among other sectors of the economy estimates the potential impact of the outbreak so as to come up with the necessary measures.  The government would thus involve all the sectors of the economy and the whole public in general by mobilizing them to take responsibility in the efforts to fight the disease.

Communication by the tourism industry is one of the approaches used to manage the disease outbreak by providing the public with the relevant information and the tools needed to keep the spread at bay.  The tourism agencies were on toes to provide the accurate and timely information to all the tourists in pursuit to minimize the unforeseen social and economic interference hence maximizing the effective response outcome. According to Collia et al.2011, p.9). While all the other factors remain constant, the difference between a worse and a best case global scenario may reduce to how well the organizations, individuals, and the government control the exposure to the risks of the people. According to the WHO, it is important that the government informs their nationals of the difficult situations and the potential dangers which they may encounter as they travel abroad (Collia et al, 2011, p.9). The information should be issued without discrimination or in an exaggerated manner by the tourism industry of Canada as the host country. The content of the travel advisories should be discussed early in advance with the authorities of Canada alongside the relevant professionals. The team should come up with appropriate recommendations which are proportionate to the passion of the current situation and limited to the geographical areas where this event is acute. The tourism administrators also urge the press to take charge in issuing clear, honest and balanced information regarding the situation at hand which would determine the flow of the tourists. The consumers of tourism services should also be issued with the reliable and accurate information through the press and electronic commerce communication.

Statement of Need

Another measure is a routine use of on-farm biosecurity measures which help prevent the introduction of the disease into the flock. The tourism agencies in collaboration with the ministry for livestock and poultry have implemented measures to control the contact between the poultry and world animals and birds to prevent the spread of the disease. This includes keeping the ducks and geese in distinct houses as the other poultry. The tourism agencies recommend that this biosecurity guidance is implemented before an outbreak to avoid the adverse impacts of the disease as the relevant authorities try to curb it once it happens (Cottrell, et al.2013, p.110). This calls for the importance of both commercial and non-commercial poultry owners to implement these measures into their farm so as to prevent the invention of the disease. This includes keeping the poultry indoors as the risk increases when birds which are outside come into contact with the wild birds and their droppings. The farmers are also encouraged to ensure proper sanitation of the poultry stalls and avoid the slaughtering of the birds in places which have not been approved by the veteran officers. The government is also geared to compensating for the loss incurred by the farmers in order to support them as it plays a great role in promoting the efforts in controlling flu so as to prevent the farmers from killing and rejecting their flocks (Cottrell, et al.2013, p.110). However, the government should be cautious not to pay too much to the farmers as an enticement as this would make them to intentionally poison their flocks.


The government has also launched plans to be warning the public well on time and educating them on the disease, transparent information sharing in order to detect the potential outbreak before it becomes widespread (Cottrell, et al.2013, p.110). This also involves tracking the potentially hazardous changes associated with the virus and requires intensive networking among all the stakeholders from the farms, public and animal health laboratories and the national government and other institutions.

Influenza surveillance is another measure taken by the government to curb the situation which involves the collection, amplification, and circulation of data which enables the development of evidence-based interventions (Oner, et al.2006, p.2180).  This is necessary so as to identify where, when, and they type of influenza viruses which are in circulation as well as the intensity and the impact it has on the population. It also helps to identify the high-risk population so as to take the necessary measures immediately. The tourism agencies will ensure that the epidemiological situation in the neighboring and the origin country of the visiting travelers is well scrutinized to get a clear direction of the necessary measures needed (Parry, 2013, p.346). The government has ensured the implementation of the surveillance equipment designed to detect the unexplained respiratory illnesses, which activates proper laboratory inquiries. The data obtained from the surveillance becomes the key driver of the pandemic response as it is used to assess the pandemic phase and to track the advancement through the phases (Wan, et al.2011, p.13435).  This data collected on influenza-like illness and deaths is vital to assess the severity and extent of the epidemics. The access and availability of the timely data are vital especially during the outbreak periods as the information is spread to the public and the overseas countries are made aware so that those visiting the Canada are aware or their government restricts their travel to Canada hence minimizing the spread (Parry, 2013, p.346). The visitors who wish to tour the country during the outbreak are either vaccinated against the disease early in advance to keep them secure. Alternatively, the government will implement restrictions from visiting the high-risk areas and the prone areas or simply ban foreign tourists as the situation is being dealt with. This helps a great deal to ensure that a good relationship continues between Canada and other countries because if a foreigner would contrast such a disease while on tour to the country, such would be regarded as a negligence by the government which would lead to ceasing from visiting Canada. The surveillance is also important to ensure that those living in risky areas are vaccinated and educated on how to deal with the situation before it worsens (Parry, 2013, p.346). The tourism agencies also enforced restriction for freedom of movement especially to the tourist areas that are prone to the outbreak. This was in collaboration with the health sector so as to ensure that the measures taken to curb the condition are apparent and clear and that the outcome can be well defensible hence ensuring consistency with the International Health Regulations.

Process Plan

The protection of the travel health is also another measure which includes temperature screening on the passengers who arrive at the airport such that the passengers who are detected to have a fever or sick may be noted for further examination and those spotted with influenza may be taken to hospital for further management.  The government has also organized seminars meant for the tour group coordinators in order to keep them informed on how to conduct the touring activities during the epidemic period (Hermalin & Weisbach, 1991, p. 34). This also requires that the travel health website is kept up to date and the information on travel health advice in regard to the emerging threats of the avian influenza is made available in all the relevant places. Some pamphlets with information on health advice relating to the prevention of the disease are distributed to the airport, land border control points and seaports to make the passengers aware of the prevailing situation upon entry and before leaving the country (De Jong, et al.2005, p.688). The pamphlets are also distributed in various languages to the travelers moving to and from the risk areas and reminder letters also provided to them bearing health advice through the organizations working with migrant helpers (Parry, 2013, p.346).. The Mobile Information Service at the airports is also tasked with the duty to help in disseminating leaflets in the minority languages to the migrant workers and the newly arrived foreign domestic workers.


The government also takes other measures which include banning of importation or export of poultry and eggs to other countries. Some public health measures were also added which included ordering treatments to all the arriving and departing travelers at the airports and seaports (Hermalin & Weisbach, 1991, p.34). The powers were instituted to enable diverting of an aircraft to an alternate landing site when the need arises in order to come up with quarantine facilities at all the Canadian locations and also prohibit the entry of travelers and importation or exportation of goods to some countries to prevent possible introduction of the disease to the countries (Parry, 2013, p. 346). The nurses and physicians are allocated at various quarantine stations including the international airports in Toronto, Vancouver, and Calgary which occupy the biggest percentage of the in and out of Canada air travels and are in operation for 24 hours a day. The quarantine officers also the responsibility of nursing the ill reporting persons who present at the international land borders and marine ports.

Proposed Process

In response to the outbreak of the disease, the tourism agencies in collaboration with the Health Portfolio Emergency Operations Centre (HPEOC) which is a coordination platform for emergency response in Toronto in order to support Canada's health program and facilitate the health of the tourists in the provincial, territorial and other areas (Hayden, et al.1999, p.1340). The tourism health officers and the HPEOC offer a 24-hour event management by utilizing the telecommunication network and particular software to synchronize distribution of the information across all the other partners involved in responding to outbreak response (Cottrell et al, 2013, P. 109).

Generally, the avian flu can be a threat to the country it invents and interferes with the development and the economy of the country. Among other sectors of the economy, the tourism industry is highly affected by the outbreak of such a disease since this can mean evacuation from the tourist sites which are affected and their neighboring areas (Prinz et al 2011, p.712). Some potential tourists from abroad may hesitate to visit the country – Canada in fear of getting infected with such a disease which is highly transmittable hence causing major losses of foreign currency. This has made the tourism agencies in Canada to join hands with other stakeholders to implement the measures to combat the situation after the outbreak which occurred in 2014. Some measures taken include implementing the farm biosecurity measures such as separating the ducks from other poultry and controlling the contact between them and wild birds (Lu, et al.2012, p.125). Others include instituting the surveillance which enables to assess the possibility of an outbreak and its possible magnitude so as to take the necessary measures prior to the outbreak (Swayne, 2012, p. 818). The agency has also come up with proper communication means which include the use of telecommunication to spread the information regarding the outbreak and the tourist places to be avoided. It also collaborates with the Canada Health Agencies (CHA) to ensure that the travelers moving in and out of the country are scrutinized thoroughly for any possible diseases and those noted to be ill are taken for further treatment to avoid the spread (Swayne, et al.2003, p.1048). The tourism agencies also work together with the air travel management to ensure that the foreign tourists are well directed in order to avoid visiting the high-risk areas (Svoboda, et al.2004, p.2355). This includes diverting of the aircraft landing in case of an outbreak. However, the agency recommends that in order to be effective, these measures need to be implemented early in advance before an outbreak occurs so as to make the combating of the disease easier as it is always said that prevention is better than cure.

References

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Cheng, X.W., Lu, J., Wu, C.L., Yi, L.N., Xie, X., Shi, X.D., Fang, S.S., Zan, H., Kung, H.F. and He, M.L., 2011. Three fatal cases of pandemic 2009 influenza A virus infection in Shenzhen are associated with cytokine storm. Respiratory physiology & neurobiology, 175(1), pp.185-187.

Collier, N., Son, N.T. and Nguyen, N.M., 2011. OMG U got flu? Analysis of shared health messages for bio-surveillance. Journal of biomedical semantics, 2(5), p.S9.

Cottrell, E.B., Chou, R., Wasson, N., Rahman, B. and Guise, J.M., 2013. Reducing risk for mother-to-infant transmission of hepatitis C virus: a systematic review for the US Preventive Services Task Force. Annals of internal medicine, 158(2), pp.109-113.

De Jong, M.D., Cam, B.V., Qui, P.T., Hien, V.M., Thanh, T.T., Hue, N.B., Beld, M., Phuong, L.T., Khanh, T.H., Chau, N.V.V. and Hien, T.T., 2005. Fatal avian influenza A (H5N1) in a child presenting with diarrhea followed by coma. New England Journal of Medicine, 352(7), pp.686-691.

Hayden, F.G., Atmar, R.L., Schilling, M., Johnson, C., Poretz, D., Paar, D., Huson, L., Ward, P., Mills, R.G. and Oseltamivir Study Group, 1999. Use of the selective oral neuraminidase inhibitor oseltamivir to prevent influenza. New England Journal of Medicine, 341(18), pp.1336-1343.

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Prinz, F., Schlange, T. and Asadullah, K., 2011. Believe it or not: how much can we rely on published data on potential drug targets?. Nature reviews Drug discovery, 10(9), pp.712-712. 

Svoboda, T., Henry, B., Shulman, L., Kennedy, E., Rea, E., Ng, W., Wallington, T., Yaffe, B., Gournis, E., Vicencio, E. and Basrur, S., 2004. Public health measures to control the spread of the severe acute respiratory syndrome during the outbreak in Toronto. New England Journal of Medicine, 350(23), pp.2352-2361. 

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Swayne, D.E., Suarez, D.L., Schultz-Cherry, S., Tumpey, T.M., King, D.J., Nakaya, T., Palese, P. and Garcia-Sastre, A., 2003. Recombinant paramyxovirus type 1-avian influenza-H7 virus as a vaccine for protection of chickens against influenza and Newcastle disease. Avian diseases, 47(s3), pp.1047-1050. 

Wan, X.F., Dong, L., Lan, Y., Long, L.P., Xu, C., Zou, S., Li, Z., Wen, L., Cai, Z., Wang, W. and Li, X., 2011. Indications that live poultry markets are a major source of human H5N1 influenza virus infection in China. Journal of virology, 85(24), pp.13432-13438.

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