United States Senate Special Committee on Aging

Avian Flu

For too long, the federal government has been ignoring warnings that we are dangerously unprepared for the serious threat of avian influenza. Many experts across the country are no longer asking if such a pandemic could occur; rather, they suggest that it is only a question of when it will occur. Scientists have indicated that two of three factors necessary for a flu pandemic already exist.

Senator Kohl is particularly concerned that we are not prepared to care for the various and complex needs of our nation�s seniors. The elderly are amongst our most vulnerable members of society and are far too often overlooked or even ignored in emergency preparedness plans. Last year, Senator Kohl wrote a letter to the Secretary of Health and Human Services Michael Leavitt requesting a detailed description of specific efforts underway through HHS and its state and local partners to provide seniors and their families with proper health care and other support services in the face of a potential flu outbreak.