Feds helping Oklahoma prepare for the possibility of an Avian bird flu outbreak
Friday, March 17th 2006, 9:26 AM CST
The federal government is sending money to local health agencies to prepare for the possibility of a flu pandemic. Oklahoma will get $1.3-million to prepare for the possibility of an Avian flu outbreak.
News on 6 Reporter Jennifer Loren says Tulsa County will get a big chunk of that money.
"This is the command post." Dave Cox at Tulsa City-County Health Department thinks they're more prepared than most when it comes to keeping people safe. "I think we're a step ahead of most people. Most of the departments around the country, local and state health departments, are now putting in EOCs. We've put in our second one." This EOC, or emergency operations command center, would be fully staffed in case the bird flu ever broke out here. But right now emergency planners say it's not likely. "Bottom line is no one knows when it's going to occur or if it will even occur.â€
The H5N1 virus, as itâ€™s called, is still in the bird population and has not developed into a strain that's transmitted between humans. Even so, the health department just completed a plan in case it ever does. â€œIts primary purpose is preparedness for pandemic influenza."
They say they'll use their share of the $1.3- million to help implement that plan. It includes things like plans for Tulsa Public Schools.
The Director of Health Services at Tulsa Schools says this money would be useful because their current plan wouldn't cover a flu like H5N1. Pamelia Butler: "It's something we're aware of. We're waiting for a particular plan from the health department so we'll be in a state of readiness."
And you can be in a state of readiness in your home too. The health department reminds you to always have an emergency kit ready. They suggest drinking water for up to 2 weeks and canned food. As far as drinking water they say one gallon per person per day should do the trick.
They also say it may be a good idea to have a stash of the drug Tamiflu, while it may only lessen the affect of a serious strain; it's in the county's plan to stockpile the drug themselves.
Tulsa County hopes to have their entire plan posted on their website in the next week.