Report details bird flu effects

March 22, 2007
by David Goldstein
Wichita Eagle

The Trust for America's Health, a nonprofit health advocacy group, said in its report Thursday that the nation could suffer a nearly $700 billion blow to the economy triggered by employee deaths and sickness. Many businesses could close or be forced to operate with minimal staff, the report said. Demand for goods and services could drop, as could available supplies, and industries could be disrupted. The study said the gross domestic product -- the total value of all the goods and services that the U.S. produces -- could drop by between 4 and 6 percent. The GDP was valued at $12.4 trillion in 2005. "A pandemic poses a serious threat to our global economy," said Jeffrey Levi, executive director of the Trust for America's Health. "Businesses, governments, schools and other sectors could all face serious disruptions."

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