State Readies Itself for Flu Pandemic

By: Mark Lindner
By: Mark Lindner

Health officials say americans have benefitted from our isolated location so far, as all of the reported cases have been in europe, asia, and africa. They say that were the epidemic to reach our side of the ocean, treatment would be slow to arrive.

"Vaccines and antivirals in the early waves of a pandemic are probably not going to be readily available, only in limited quantities. We have to be very much targeted on those that become ill, at least in the case of antivirals and those at greatest risk for what little vaccine there will be," says WInnebago County Health Director Mike Bacon.

Bacon says it is vital for residents to remain calm in the event of an outbreak.

"We can hopefully be able to minimize that by working together by folks understanding that their community is going to be wroking diligently to serve their interests in the midst of a pandemic," Bacon says.

State officials recommend residents keep a supply of food, water and medicine so they don't have to leave the house if an epidemic occurs. To ensure we're prepared on the state level, federal agencies have been conducting a simulated flu outbreak while simultaneously dealing with a terrorist attack at a major transportation hub.

The exercise requires rescuers to tend to victims and solve problems in a real life scenario as the events occur. The exercise will finish up tomorrow with a review session. During this session, exercise participants will be discussing the long-term effects of a pandemic flu outbreak.

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