No announcement yet.

Eastern Idaho Offers Pandemic Preparedness Classes

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Eastern Idaho Offers Pandemic Preparedness Classes


    "At some point the flu virus that is circulating in the world is going to change enough that people have not been exposed to it and have no immunity to it, and that, combined with it spreading easily from person to person could create pandemic in the world," says Geri Rackow, with the District 7 Health Department.

    A late flu season, and a vaccine that didn't quite match this year's strain of the virus has doctors around the world busy caring for the influx in patients.

    The latest outbreak is in Hong Kong where elementary schools have been shut down for two weeks to prevent the virus from spreading.

    That got us wondering, if a pandemic were to break out here in Eastern Idaho would emergency teams be prepared and how would they handle it?

    We found out those are the same questions law enforcement and health experts in the area are asking themselves right now.

    We've only had three flu pandemics in over 100 years, and infectious disease researchers say that could mean the world is due for another.

    "It's not an if it's a when type scenario," says Disaster Preparedness Trainer Grady Bray.

    This year's flu itself isn't worse than in prior years, but it's mutated and a new strain is developing, something creators of this year's flu shot didn't anticipate. That's why we've heard of more outbreaks.

    "And that's what we're going to see in a pandemic, and so we just need to keep those things in mind. When you're sick stay home, make sure you are washing your hands frequently, cover your coughs," says Rackow.

    Fire fighters, police officers, and doctors in this two day disaster preparedness seminar are discussing that scenario.
    They're studying past pandemics and natural disasters to assess Eastern Idaho's ability to react in a similar situation.

    "The overwhelming nature of pandemic flu is one that requires the local community to be prepared to be self sufficient for a long period of time because there will be no federal resources available to assist. It means having three to six months worth of food and water available because families need to be self sufficient. They need to be able to take care of themselves. They need to be prepared to deal with family members who die. What are you going to do with the body?" says Bray.

    The answer to that question is kind of scary. Bray says families may be on their own storing or burying the bodies for a while.

    So far in Idaho there have been two flu related deaths. On average 36 thousand die in the US from the flu each year.

    The health department is offering classes to anyone who would like more information on how to prepare for a pandemic.