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BirdFlu-Readiness 09-10

Bird flu plan criticized

Federal investigators said Monday that the nation’s preparedness for a potential influenza pandemic is hindered by a lack of training and testing.

The Government Accountability Office said the Bush administration’s bird flu plan provides a broad description of the responsibilities of federal agencies. For example, the Department of Health and Human Services is to lead the medical response. Homeland Security would lead other aspects of the response. But, there would undoubtedly be overlapping responsibilities that are not clearly defined.

Since the release of the plan in May 2006, national pandemic exercises involving multiple agencies have not been conducted. Such exercises would show which agencies understand their responsibilities, the GAO said.

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