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October 17, 2005

Leavitt in Jakarta

The Jakarta Post reports that US Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt is in Indonesia to discuss the country's capacity to respond to bird flu.

Before leaving Hanoi, Leavitt told reporters his Southeast Asia tour has painted a clearer picture of just how daunting it would be to identify and contain an outbreak if the virus mutates to a form easily spread among people. It could skip across borders and oceans, killing millions and crippling entire nations.

"Can we create a network of surveillance sufficient enough to find the spark when it happens, to get there fast enough?" hesaid. "The chances of that happening are not good."

Especially if the US and other western nations aren't prepared to fund some kind of mobile medical strike force. For a government eager to fight its enemies overseas so it won't have to fight them at home, the Bush administration seems strangely listless in the face of this foreign threat.

Posted by dymaxion at October 17, 2005 05:47 AM

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