Bird Flu Battle on Horizon

August 15, 2005
by David Whitney
Sacramento Bee

They know it's coming. Hospitals are monitoring for its arrival with every patient who checks in. Now scientists are swabbing wild bird bottoms in California and elsewhere in a hunt for the first signs of the deadly virus... ...According to a recent report by the Trust for America's Health, the U.S. toll could surpass 540,000. In California, the report said, deaths could top 60,000 and hospitalizations could exceed 273,000... ...That point was highlighted by the Trust for America's Health report. It said that if the 5.3 million doses of Tamiflu in federal possession were distributed on the basis of population, only about 639,000 of California's 30 million people would get the medicine. The report's conclusions are grim. "Overall, U.S. pandemic preparedness is inadequate," it said. "Both the federal pandemic plan and various state pandemic plans are insufficient for a national response to a pandemic influenza."

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