News | December 18, 2006

States Gear Up Against Flu Threat

The AP reports that states and communities around the nation are developing creative readiness strategies in preparation for the next influenza pandemic, for which the Bush administration has announced a call to action.

Examples include:

In Colorado, trailers packed with cots and medical supplies are parked in secret locations, ready for doctors to open makeshift hospitals in school gyms if a flu pandemic strikes.

Parts of southeastern Washington are considering drive-thru flu shots during a pandemic -- although a practice run this fall may have demonstrated the need for traffic cops.

If Alabama closes schools amid a super-flu, students may take classes via public television. In Dallas, city librarians may replace sick 911 operators.

Almost half the states that the Associate Press looked at haven't spent any of their own money yet to gird against a super-flu, relying instead on grants from the federal government.

Some states, AP reports, are debating whether to purchase the recommended anti-flu medications to store for their citizens, or to gamble that they'll receive enough from a federal stockpile.

"How are states doing, and how do we know how states are doing?" asked Dr. Pascale Wortley of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "There's a lot of important things that are very hard to measure. It's a real challenge."

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