DOD launches avian flu Web site

DOD Avian Flu Website

The Defense Department activated its own avian flu Web site yesterday to address service members’ concerns about a possible pandemic.

The new avian flu portion of the DeploymentLink Web site, operated by the office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, has a “frequently asked questions” section and a glossary of terms.

The DOD avian flu Web page includes information for service members and their families on how to protect themselves from the flu, including admonitions to avoid contact with birds and poultry.

The DOD avian flu Web page also advises military personnel that they may be called on to assist in domestic or international efforts to battle a pandemic, but provides no further details.

Last month the U.S. Pacific Command, whose area of operations include Asian nations whose poultry and bird populations have been hit by the H5N1 strain of avian flu, launched its own flu information campaign at a Public Health Emergency Officer (PHEO) Pandemic Influenza Seminar for 75 PHEOs in the command.

"Pacom can minimize the spread of the virus and provide support to troops, sailors and families so that the impact of the disease will be much less," said Navy Capt. Konrad Hayashi, Pacom’s public health director.

Hayashi said service members traveling in areas where there may be bird flu such as Thailand, Vietnam or Indonesia should "stay away from bird farms, animal markets, anything that is contaminated with feces or secretions or entrails of these animals because that can contain the virus and you don't want to ingest or be exposed to it.”

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