Avian and Swine Flu News ArticlesExcerpts of Key Avian and Swine Flu News Articles in Media
If the nightmare of an avian flu pandemic emerges from the dark chapters of doomsday scenarios, it will fall to the Department of the Homeland Security, not the medical establishment, to manage the crisis, according to federal documents and interviews with government officials. Under the National Response Plan, which also plans for actions in case of pandemics, DHS assumes top authority when an “incident of national significance” is declared. The first such “incident of national significance” was declared in August after Hurricane Katrina hit; however, federal coordination among agencies and state and local governments broke down on so many levels that even President Bush was forced to acknowledge that the plan was flawed. Federal officials have been role playing different flu outbreak scenarios for the past several months. Last year’s plan called for closing of schools, restricting travel and...lock-down quarantine measures. Those extreme measures jumped into the spotlight...when President Bush suggested that federal military troops -- not just the National Guard -- may have to be called in to enforce a quarantine.
Note: Isn't it interesting how the government seems to be predicting that the avian flu, which has killed less than 100 people worldwide, is going to mutate and cause massive deaths? How do they know this? Could this be another way of pushing us into fear and giving up our civil liberties?
President Bush said yesterday that he would consider using the military to "effect a quarantine" in the event of an outbreak of pandemic influenza in the United States. Bush also suggested that putting National Guard troops under federal, rather than state, control might be one part of a response to the "catastrophe" of an avian influenza outbreak. The president raised the same idea after Hurricane Katrina, suggesting that he is considering a greater role for the military in natural disasters. Most public health experts believe it is impossible to entirely isolate neighborhoods, towns, cities or regions during an outbreak of disease. Instead, quarantines today generally refer to a variety of strategies for identifying and limiting the movement of people who are infected with a contagious pathogen or are at high risk. That might include screening travelers for fever and flu symptoms; prohibiting large gatherings of people, including at some workplaces; and requiring that people exposed to infected individuals stay at home until the incubation period for the illness has passed. China took these measures during the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome in 2003.
President George W. Bush asked Congress on Tuesday to consider giving him powers to use the military to enforce quarantines in case of an avian influenza epidemic. "If we had an outbreak somewhere in the United States, do we not then quarantine that part of the country? And how do you, then, enforce a quarantine?" Bush asked at a news conference. The active duty military is currently forbidden from undertaking law enforcement duties by the federal Posse Comitatus Act.
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