Avian Flu Fears - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

10/5/05

Avian Flu Fears

So far, the Avian Flu has infected and killed tens of millions of birds and at least 65 people, since it first surfaced in Asia two years ago. Now the World Health Organization is warning countries that a possible pandemic could kill up to two-million Americans, and millions more worldwide.

A group of senate Democrats is so concerned that they called for special bird flu coordinator at the White House. So far, the Avian Flu has been rare in humans, but scientists warn that all it would take is a simple mutation in the virus that could trigger a huge outbreak worldwide.

"When that happens, we are in an emergency situation. We hope that doesn't happen for some time, so that we can get the vaccines and the anti-virals ready and be prepared," says Sue Baily, a former federal health official.

President Bush is asking Congress to give him the power to use the military to enforce quarantines in case of an epidemic. Meanwhile, a new vaccine is slowly being produced, and there is already one drug, Tamiflu, that officials believe may help treat the symptoms.

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