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KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — It’s probably not a good idea to hang out at poultry farms.

Neither is it wise to butcher any sort of fowl.

And you may not want to give first aid to chickens injured in those underground rooster fights, not that you’d ever find yourself in that situation.

To address community concerns about avian influenza, commonly known as bird flu, and pandemic influenza, Kaiserslautern Military Community leadership has scheduled a town hall meeting next week. All identification card holders and local-national employees are invited to attend the Army-sponsored meeting from 10 a.m. to noon on April 28 at the Galaxy Theater on the Air Force’s Vogelweh installation.

“The goal is to get the word out that there is a potential for an outbreak of influenza, and we want to address anybody’s concerns,” said Lt. Col. (Dr.) William Corr, chief of the preventive medicine department at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center.

Department of public works employees will be on hand to describe what steps people should take if they come across dead birds, said Lt. Col. David Tiedemann, U.S. Army Garrison Kaiserslautern special projects officer.

Bird flu has killed at least 109 people since the H5N1 strain started devastating Asian poultry in late 2003. Currently, bird flu is not transferred from person-to-person contact but that could change, Corr said. Corr explained that the virus could mutate into a form that spreads from human-to-human contact.

“At this time, avian influenza is not a threat to beneficiaries in the KMC area, and we are preparing for it in case it does become a threat,” he said.

At the meeting, Corr will speak about “what would happen if we had an influenza attack like we did in 1918.”

The 1918 “Spanish flu” is estimated to have killed more than 40 million worldwide, including as many as 675,000 Americans. The 1918 pandemic flu was rumored to have stopped the last German offensive in World War I, Corr said.

The meeting follows a European Command directive ordering all communities to have a town hall meeting or similar forum on influenza, Tiedemann said.


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