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Friday, June 01, 2007

DoD to Release Flu Pandemic Guide for Civilians

On the heels of its Pandemic Influenza Implementation Plan released in April, the Defense Department is preparing a pandemic flu guide for civilian managers and rank-and-file employees.

Patricia S. Bradshaw, deputy undersecretary of defense for civilian personnel policy, said May 25 that the department's plan is part of the president's overall response to a potential mass outbreak of the flu.

The guide, scheduled for issue in the summer, will outline tasks that managers, supervisors and employees must do to prepare themselves for a possible flu pandemic or any other type of crisis.

In the event of a flu pandemic, the Guard would be instrumental in the initial response.

In fact, the Guard began preparation for a possible flu pandemic nearly two years ago, particularly the threat of Influenza Type A, subtype H5N1 (bird flu), a highly pathogenic viral lung infection.

At the time, adjutants general were informed that such an outbreak likely would affect all states, and troops would probably stay under state control, or Title 32 status.

While the directive for the Guard was vague, their goal would be to help mitigate the spread of such a virus and ensure operational readiness and stability of forces.

"I think the challenges are not unlike any [other] work force," Ms. Bradshaw said last week. "If we have a crisis such as a pandemic, the real challenge here is maximizing social distancing as the preferred technique to employ, because it's a contagious disease."

More information on defense department's pandemic flu response is available at Deployment Link.

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