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February 07, 2007

Pentagon refines bird-flu pandemic plans

Via Navy Times: Pentagon refines bird-flu pandemic plans. Excerpt:

At the annual Military Health System conference recently held in Washington, Army Lt. Col. Wayne Hachey, director of preventative medicine and surveillance for the assistant secretary of defense for health affairs, gave an update about progress.

“If we don’t do anything, it’s going to slap us, and slap us hard,” Hachey said. “Blunt the pandemic: That’s the strategy.”

Hachey couched his warning with the acceptance that a bird-flu pandemic may never hit, but he said the Defense Department learned a hard lesson in 1918 when more men died from flu during World War I than from bullets. Within a month, the flu had infected 25 percent of the Army and had hit all 11 major camps. As soldiers shipped from barracks to boat to front lines, they took the disease with them.

“DoD did not start the outbreak,” he said, “but DoD did ignore it.”

This time, he said, there’s a plan.

“If [the bird flu] hits the DoD, they’re expecting a 35 percent attack rate with 40 percent of the force out sick,” Hachey said. “But the force still has to provide defense, as well as health care.”

Posted by dymaxion at February 7, 2007 10:07 PM

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