Global human flu pandemic

Convinced it`s only a matter of time before a new flu strain capable of killing millions reaches New York, city health officials have started drawing up a crisis plan, the Daily News has learned.

Infectious-disease experts at the Health Department have been meeting every two weeks to prepare a strategy for protecting the city against diseases such as the &to=http:// ' target=_blank>Asian bird flu, or H5N1, which many scientists believe is just one crucial mutation away from turning into a monster malady.

The written blueprint, which officials expect to complete before the next flu season starts in late fall, spells out how the agency will tackle potentially controversial measures.

The issues addressed include how to handle quarantines, test virus samples for new strains, cope with overcrowded hospitals and ration lifesaving vaccines and other treatments, reports New York Daily News.

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