Illinois zoos, agencies conducting bird flu disaster drills

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The exercise involves an imaginary employee leaking sensitive information on a personal Facebook page –Research included watching the virus outbreak movie ‘Contagion’ as ‘field research.’ As a zoo CEO drives to work, a radio news segment announces that dead birds were reported in a park near the zoo. In this hypothetical scenario involving the Lincoln Park Zoo, the CEO arrives at the office to find a flurry of voice mails from reporters. But before there is a chance to respond, the phone rings: The H5N1 virus has been confirmed as the cause of the birds’ deaths in the park. It is not yet known if the bird-flu strain can spread to humans… From Tuesday through Thursday this week, eight zoos and aquariums in Illinois are participating in the Zoo Animal Health Network exercise on communication during emergencies, along with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and state and other agencies. [Heads up! US government drills have a tendency to ‘go live’ — as on 9/11 and with the ‘Boston bombings,’ etc.]
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