Pentagon Releases Pandemic Plan; Agencies Working Together

The Department of Defense yesterday released details of its Pandemic Influenza Implementation Plan to the public, saying the plan is part of President Bush's initiative to prepare the nation for a potential outbreak. DoD is working with the Departments of Homeland Security, State, Health and Human Services; and also CDC and the World Health Organization, said Richard Chavey, DoD's director of CBRN preparedness and response.

"Right now, we're as ready as we can be at this point," Chavez said in an American Foces Press Service article posted on DoD's Web site. "What we want to do is get information out to the public so that we don't create panic but do provide them with the proper level of information." The plan includes information on how people can help to limit the spread of a possible pandemic and mitigate its effects. "If it starts with the avian vector, which is the poultry right now, we can identify the farms that are affected [and] cull the birds before they have the chance to infect other birds and animals," Chavez explained.

Research and development and stockpiling of anti-viral vaccines and other medicines are components of the plan. U.S. official also have interviewed medical experts in Singapore to find out how they dealt with the SARS epidemic between November 2002 and July 2003, Chavez said.

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