7 October 2005 -- U.S. President George W. Bush is due to meet with vaccine manufacturers today to discuss preparations for a possible global outbreak of avian flu.
The meeting at the White House will come as the U.S. government is concluding a two-day conference of health officials from more than 65 countries and international organizations who are discussing how to fight an outbreak of avian influenza before it can cause a human pandemic that could kill millions.
The H5N1 avian influenza virus has killed or forced the destruction of tens of millions of birds and infected more than 100 people, killing at least 60 in four Asian countries since late 2003.
On 6 October, Mike Leavitt, the U.S. secretary of health and human services, told the conference a vaccine against the avian flu exists, but said officials currently do not have the ability to mass produce it or distribute it to people quickly.
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