Wow, this is an alarm bell, and if this comes to pass, I won't fault the feds for not sounding it, I'll fault the public for not paying attention:
In a remarkable speech over the weekend, Secretary of Health and Human Services Michael Leavitt recommended that Americans start storing canned tuna and powdered milk under their beds as the prospect of a deadly bird flu outbreak approaches the United States.
Ready or not, here it comes.
It is being spread much faster than first predicted from one wild flock of birds to another, an airborne delivery system that no government can stop.
"There's no way you can protect the United States by building a big cage around it and preventing wild birds from flying in and out," U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Michael Johanns said.
The news networks certainly use fear as a weapon, and on occasion the Administration has too. But the potential for an outbeak has already been realized all over the globe. Even if the bird flu never mutates to humans, which is debatable in its possibility, the financial outcome of having to kill 80 million or so chickens is great.
I have no problem with giving the public the worst-case scenario for an outbreak to ensure preparation. It's darkly comic that the HHS Secretary is asking citizens to store tuna and milk under their beds, telegraphing the fact that government will be of no help in a crisis.
The Next Hurrah has been a great source of information on the avian flu's progress, as well as the Flu Wiki.