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National Guard drills for major disease outbreak

National Guard drills for major disease outbreak

Some 300 troops from the Maryland National Guard drilled this week for a deadly outbreak of a bird-flu-like disease that they envisage would spread panic in urban areas and require the killing of chickens by the barnful.

Troops from the 231st Chemical Company worked Saturday with local officials in Queen Anne's County and staff from the state agriculture department to practice decontaminating the machine that would be used to slaughter poultry in the hopes of stopping any infection from spreading. Normally, the soldiers would wear tightly sealed protective suits. Given the near 100-degree heat, they chose to work in T-shirts.

Col. Michael Bennett said the Guard had spent...