President Bush has asked Congress for seven-point-one billion dollars to prepare the United States for a possible bird flu pandemic.
Speaking at the National Institutes of Health outside Washington on Tuesday, Mr. Bush said there are no signs of an imminent pandemic in the United States or abroad.
But he warned the avian flu virus has shown it can infect humans with a fatal illness, and that the time to prepare is now.
The president outlined a strategy that calls for the government to stockpile anti-flu vaccines and drugs, detect any outbreaks early, and educate the American people on ways to prevent bird flu from spreading.
He said 88 countries have already joined an international effort to detect outbreaks worldwide.
The president also said the United States needs to update its medical technology so it can quickly produce anti-flu vaccines for every American. He asked Congress to give vaccine-makers greater protection from lawsuits, which he said have driven many manufacturers out of the vaccine market.
Last week, the U.S. Senate approved eight-billion dollars for bird-flu preparations. The House of Representatives has yet to approve the measure.