State Health Officer Don Williamson says he'll ask the Legislature for $22 million to stockpile 500,000 doses of a flu-fighting drug in the event of a deadly bird flu outbreak.
Those doses of the drug, Tamiflu, would be enough to treat one-ninth of the state if a mutant form of the avian flu, which has ravaged poultry stocks in Asia, reaches the United States.
There have been at least 126 confirmed human cases in Asia and 64 deaths.
The strain, known as HSN-One, does not spread easily among humans, but public health experts, including Williamson, say it could mutate into a killer flu.
State health department projections say a flu pandemic could kill as many as four thousand Alabamians, overwhelming morgues and medical services.
While the 500,000 doses would help a fraction of Alabama's 4.5 million population, the federal government could release more Tamiflu doses if the state was hit hard by the flu
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