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HARKIN WORKS TO PROTECT AMERICANS FROM AVIAN FLU
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), along with a group of
Senate Democrats, today introduced legislation to help America prepare
for and protect from a possible Avian flu pandemic. The “Pandemic
Preparedness and Response Act” would provide a comprehensive approach
to prepare and protect Americans from this potentially devastating
“This is one of the biggest threats we face today,” said Harkin. “A flu
pandemic is not a matter of if – but when. We must heed these warning
signs, and take the time to invest in our public infrastructure.
Instead of always looking into the rear-view mirror, we must do all we
can to prevent a disaster, like avian flu, before it
Avian flu, also known as the bird flu, is a virus that to date has only
been passed from birds to humans. However, experts publicly predict
that it is only a matter of time before the virus mutates and can be
easily spread between humans creating a widespread public health
crisis. In a matter of weeks, an outbreak in China, Vietnam or Cambodia
could spread rapidly and trigger a world-wide outbreak facilitated by
international travel and globalization.
The Pandemic Preparedness and Response Act will enable our nation to
take crucial steps forward in protecting Americans from an Avian flu
pandemic. The bill will:
– Prepare for a pandemic by finalizing,
implementing and funding pandemic preparedness and response
– Improve surveillance and international
partnerships to monitor the spread of avian flu and detect the
emergence of a flu strain with pandemic potential
– Protect Americans through the
development, production and distribution of an effective
– Plan ahead for a pandemic by
stockpiling antivirals, vaccines and other essential medications and
– Strengthen our public health
– Inform Americans by increasing
awareness and education about pandemic flu.
– Commit to protecting Americans by
devoting adequate resources to pandemic preparedness.
Harkin joined together with Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid and
Senators Barack Obama, Evan Bayh, Edward Kennedy, and Dick Durbin to
introduce this legislation.