In Event of Bird Flu, Border Closing Unlikely

Ag official says such an action would do little to decrease spread of the disease and could cause economic harm.

The Associated Press is reporting comments by a State Department official that notes closing borders in an effort to stop the spread of the bird flu isn't likely. The report - which quotes Paula J. Dobriansky, undersecretary for democracy and global affairs - says that avian flu is not only a health issue, it has economic, social and security ramifications.

Last week USDA's Inspector General reported that the Bush administration lacked a comprehensive plan to test and monitor bird flu in the commercial poultry industry. Dobriansky did not reply directly to that report, but said efforts are well coordinated and include support for the World Health Organization and the U.N. Food Agency.

If avian flu were to reach U.S. shores, Dobrianski commented that closing the border would be unlikely to reduce the number of cases, but would interrupt essential services and disrupt lawful border crossings. Dobrianski made the comments at a seminar at the Nixon Center, a private think tank.

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