Outbreak Focuses States' Flu Plans

May 06, 2009

The swine flu outbreak of the last two weeks gave states’ pandemic preparation plans their biggest test yet, and by most accounts, response was good. But officials now anticipate tweaking their plans, particularly in dealing with when to close schools and how to control the spread of the disease by undocumented and migrant workers.

States last updated their pandemic response plans in anticipation of an avian flu outbreak from Asia. The proximity of the swine flu outbreak in Mexico and its quick jump into the U.S. gave officials less time to assess the situation and react to the illness, said Paul Jarris, executive director of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials.

The suddenness led state and federal health authorities to stress caution when the disease first appeared, he said. But Jarris also credited authorities for honestly telling the public about what they did and did not know.

The CDC said there were 1,105 probable or confirmed cases of swine flu in 44 states. That number soon could increase significantly, as states begin clearing the backlog of cases awaiting confirmation. The first swine flu fatality in the United States was of a Mexican toddler in Texas; the second, announced by Texas officials Tuesday, was a woman in Texas.

Read the full report Outbreak Focuses States' Flu Plans on Stateline.org.

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