Wednesday, August 17, 2005
I have written before about the possible risk to the troops stationed in the Middle East and central Asia from H5N1 (bird flu). A new and extremely virulent strain first identified this spring at Qinghai Lake, China, now appears to be spreading rapidly through Asia. Please see this map constructed by Dr. Niman of Recombinomics. Note how close the outbreaks are getting to Baghdad. Every day more reports are received. It is not clear how much risk there is to humans yet. H5N1 has infected human beings before and it has already killed over 60 in Asia.
This morning I read the following on an Agonist thread discussing the latest outbreaks near the Caspian Sea:
A message from the U.S. embassy to Americans in Kazakhstan this week said the U.S. State Department was stockpiling an anti-viral medication, Tamiflu, to treat U.S. government employees and their families at its embassies in southeast Asia.That's probably wise, but what is being done for our troops?
If the US State Department thinks there is enough of a risk to have the drug handy, are we making similar arrangements for the military personnel? Surely this is a reasonable question. Let's not sit on our butts and assume anything. Let's ask. These people are out there at great risk on the country's business, and they deserve any protection possibly available for them.
Please pass the word and contact your Congress Critters. Emailing President Bush wouldn't hurt either. All we are asking is that our military men and women receive the same protections as our diplomatic staff in the region.
Congress.org provides an easy way to find your representatives and email them. Just type in your zip code.
This is like watching a train wreck in slow motion.
By the way, there HAS to be a plan to protect US servicepeople. There HAS to be.
Among the measures would have to be special instructions to the people about sanitation, eating local meat, etc, and I can't find out that they have received those instructions. So one may be in the making, or it may not.
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