New Hampshire runs mock bird flu outbreak scenario
| 11.21.2004 | 08:00:07 | Views: 2799 | ID:
November 21 '04: As international governments and the world medical community race to counter what many see as an inevitable avian flu pandemic, in the US the president has asked Congress to set aside more than $7 billion in federal funds to help research and produce medicines that will be effective against the deadly H5N1 avian flu virus.
But ABC News reported Monday that New Hampshire is one state that is not waiting around for the federal aid. Homeland Security officials there are staging a mock outbreak of the disease to help first responders, the medical community and state and local officials prepare for surge-capacity should the disease hit the US.Mary Anne Cooney, Medical Director for New Hampshire told the news network, "We believe that what we're doing today is really in some respects our mid-term exam for how we're going to function in a true emergency." During the drill, medical response teams flock to the state university to quarantine students after one dies and others are suspected of being infected with avian flu. "In the mock outbreak," ABC reported, "hospitals are overwhelmed and police are having trouble isolating the infected. There is not enough vaccine or Tamiflu." After running the drill, state officials found they were lacking in many areas - such as "inadequate laws to enforce a quarantine and ethical dilemmas about who should be the first to receive proper medication," ABC reported. John Stephens, the commissioner for the Health and Human Services agency in New Hampshire said, "The best thing about this is we're learning things every day and we cannot ... be satisfied until plans are the best way they possibly can be to protect the public health."
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