via MedScape Daily News: Bush Proposes Using Military in Bird Flu Pandemic
Bush Proposes Using Military in Bird Flu Pandemic
WASHINGTON (Reuters) Oct 04 – President George W. Bush suggested using the military to contain any epidemic of avian influenza on Tuesday, saying Congress needs to consider the possibility.
He said the military, perhaps the National Guard, might be needed to enforce quarantines if the feared H5N1 bird flu virus changes enough to cause widespread human infection.
“If we had an outbreak somewhere in the United States, do we not then quarantine that part of the country? And how do you, then, enforce a quarantine?” Bush asked at a news conference.
“It’s one thing to shut down airplanes. It’s another thing to prevent people from coming in to get exposed to the avian flu. And who best to be able to effect a quarantine?” Bush added.
“One option is the use of a military that’s able to plan and move. So that’s why I put it on the table. I think it’s an important debate for Congress to have.”
Someone please tell me we’ve already thought this one through. The threat of Bioterrorism has been a topic at every professional society meeting I’ve attended in the last decade. Smallpox, Ebola, Typhoid, and Plague are all person to person transmissible, very lethal pathogens. Three years ago the Government was concerned enough about smallpox bioterrorism a round of smallpox revaccinations was started, so there is at least some concern at high levels. I cannot believe that quarantine hasn’t been discussed and thought out, at high levels before.
One thing the President was quoted as saying highlights a big problem / misconception about quarantine, …” It’s another thing to prevent people from coming in to get exposed to the avian flu…”. The problem isn’t in keeping people from coming TO an infected area, it’s keeping people from LEAVING the danger, and by their travel spread the virus elsewhere.
That’s where the problem lies.