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White House Set to Release Plan To Deal with Potential Bird Flu Pandemic


The White House is releasing a draft plan Wednesday describing how it will respond if an H5N1 bird flu pandemic hits the United States.

The plan lays out specific tasks for each federal government agency and has recommendations for schools, businesses, health care professionals and ordinary citizens.

The Bush administration says in a worst-case scenario, if an H5N1 bird flu pandemic begins to spread from human to human, more than two million people in the United States could be killed and nearly half of the workforce could be shut down.

The administration says there would be no point in closing U.S. borders, because that would only slow, and not stop, the spread of the disease.

The H5N1 avian virus has spread out of Asia, across Europe and into many parts of Africa. It does not easily infect humans, but since 2003 it has sickened some 200 people, mostly in Asia, and more than 100 have died from the deadly disease.

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