The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has concluded that the nation is unprepared for the true effects of a pandemic such as that expected from avian flu.
The department conducted a survey of the emergency preparedness plans of all 50 states, five territories and the District of Columbia. It concluded that while most of the country is well prepared to distribute vaccines and antiviral drugs to combat an influenza pandemic, this forms only one small part of what needs to be done.
Transportation plans for a pandemic are still far from adequate, the department says. Furthermore, many states and territories are still planning as if a pandemic would be only a short incident, rather than months of social and economic disruption that could easily spread across the world.