Preparing for Bird flu pandemic could cost state $20 million

Friday, November 25th 2005, 7:35 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) The state government may have to spend up to $20 million dollars to prepare for the bird flu pandemic.

President Bush is proposing a $7.1 billion nationwide effort, but details of the plan could change when Congress revisits the issue. In its current form, estimates place Oklahoma's costs from $5 million to $18 million.

The White House plan seeks to follow World Health Organization recommendations that enough of the anti-flu drug Tamiflu be stockpiled to treat 25% of the population. That means about 875,000 doses are needed in Oklahoma.

The Trust for America's Health, a nonprofit, nonpartisan group aimed at disease prevention, says the plan would mean a more than $500 million unfunded mandate for states.