NBTA to help the feds' bird flu plan

The National Business Travel Association is reaching out to Homeland Security and other federal agencies to lend its expertise to the Adminstration's proposed $7.1 billion plan to save us all from bird flu, should it jump from fowl to human. From the NBTA's Web site:

    NBTA was pleased to accept an invitation to attend President Bush’s announcement on national plans to aid against the spread of the avian bird flu. Speaking at the National Institutes of Health, Bush outlined his plans for preparing the nation for a potential outbreak of the virus.

    Following the delivery of the President's remarks, NBTA reached out to the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Michael Leavitt; Secretary of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff; and Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, recommending the development of a working group to involve the travel industry in the national preparation for a possible avian flu outbreak.

Given the mass hysteria over SARS not so long ago, I think it's a great idea to get some travel professionals involved in the planning. But there's not two ways about it: If avian flu does become a human-to-human transmissible disease, the meetings, travel, and hospitality business are scrod, at least for the duration. Nobody'll be going out of their houses, much less to meetings. I can't even begin to get my mind around all the implications, so I'm just really, really hoping it doesn't happen, or it is quickly contained if it does.

Anyway, here's more about what NBTA is looking to do. Another good-sounding resource, though I haven't had time to listen to it yet, is the bird flu segment on BTC radio, which aired on Sunday.

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