Have You Noticed Anything Unusual? Military Prepares For H1N1 Outbreak

These photos were obtained by a Fresno, CA resident. The Fresno area currently has 11 known hospitalized H1N1 cases. Another H1N1 patient passed away 7/30/09.
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It seems the Pentagon is in the process of making troops and equipment available to aid the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) if there is an aggressive outbreak of H1N1 virus, commonly known as Swine Flu, this fall, according to reports by CNN.

The proposal for the troop standby originated from U.S. Northern Command's Gen. Victor Renuart, but according to CNN has not yet been formally approved by Defense Secretary Robert Gates. The plan is for the military to put in place regional teams of military personnel to aid civilian authorities in the event of any serious outbreak.

A senior U.S. defense official told sources that no final decision has been reached on how the military effort would be manned, but would most likely include personnel from all the military branches. At this point, however, it remains uncertain as to whether the personnel would come from the active duty or the National Guard and Reserve. Nonetheless, recent activity at one California National Guard facility in Fresno seems to indicate that the plan is already underway. A new compound (photos above) has been built adjacent to the base that includes massive tents, satellite communications equipment, etc.

In the event of a major outbreak, civilian authorities would be at the head of the relief efforts, according to the source report. The military would be most useful in supplying air transport or testing of large numbers of viral samples from sick citizens.

Recently a special government panel advise that swine flu vaccinations be offered first to pregnant women, health care workers and children six months and over.

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices panel also recommended that priority in the vaccination line be given to parents of infants; non-elderly adults who have high-risk medical conditions, and adults ages 19 to 24, the group that has proven to be the most at risk for the infection.

For reference, National Guard websites and locations are listed here. As well, FEMA has established a network of locations under the Rex 84 Program that could possibly be used in case of an H1N1 outbreak emergency.

Scientists traced the genetic lineage of the H1N1 swine flu to a strain that emerged in 1998 in U.S. factory farms, where it spread and mutated at an alarming rate. Experts warned then that a pocket of the virus would someday evolve to infect humans, perhaps setting off a global pandemic.

NOTE: this posting is not meant to scare anyone but there seems to be something stirring within the U.S. military. Personally, I have a 21yo son, a 33yo daughter and 4yo grand daughter, so this strain of flu has me somewhat concerned. Have you noticed anything new or unusual at your local national guard armory or base?

J. Gonzalez
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