Providers consider threat of avian flu pandemic

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As the typical flu season gets underway, the American Health Care Association said it takes seriously the threat of an avian flu epidemic. It said it has plans for providing its members with information on the avian flu on a regular basis.

Earlier this week, President Bush announced his plan to help the United States prepare for the possibility of a worldwide outbreak of deadly flu, including stockpiling vaccines and antiviral drugs and improving surveillance and response to disease outbreaks.
 
Bush said Tuesday he would ask Congress for $7.1 billion to prepare the nation for a potential pandemic. Funds would include research on antiviral drugs and vaccines.
 
Bush's plan also includes the creation of a international network of
surveillance, ongoing monitoring of a virus samples to pinpoint when and if mutations happen, and the development of a seamless network of national, state and local pandemic preparedness plans.
 
Following the President's announcement, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) introduced an amendment to provide $3.9 billion in funding to prevent an avian influenza crisis and to fight emerging diseases.
(Published 11-3-05)