Federal officials allowed the Congressional "Declaration of a Public Health Emergency" to
expire today, signaling an official end to the H5N1 influenza pandemic that has rocked the
Midwest. The decision to let the declaration expire comes after several months of low flu
activity and the vaccination of over 100 million Americans. The World Health Organization
said that peak H5N1 activity had likely passed for most of the world, but the virus was still
circulating in some regions.
The USA was particularly hard-hit by the disease, as its crumbling infrastructure and the
high price of petroleum made the distribution of aid materials difficult and in some cases
impossible. Official tallies estimate at least 18 million dead from H5N1, but that number is
likely to rise as hospitals file their final reports.
The US Military, previously charged with maintaining order as the virus spread, has
withdrawn from a number of metropolitan areas and plans to continue a phased withdrawal.
A spokesman for the Department of Defense stated that there will likely be a reduced but
ongoing military presence in most cities for the next several months.