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Ohio - County plans sites to deal with disease outbreaks

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  • Ohio - County plans sites to deal with disease outbreaks

    hat tip Kobie -

    The 1995 movie about a fictional outbreak of an Ebola-like virus with a high mortality rate might not be quite what the Hamilton County General Health District has in mind in setting up community Point of Dispensing (POD) locations, but a countywide pandemic of something such as influenza or anthrax is, so health officials have been working in consultation with local police and fire departments to set up the POD system.

    The points, to be used to dispense antibiotics or vaccines in the event of a mass outbreak of an infectious disease, are dispersed throughout the county to reduce travel and wait time for patients.

    General Health District spokeswoman Megan Hummel said authorities would rather not publicize POD locations for security reasons and because the locations could change.

    The district is requesting both medical and nonmedical volunteers to step up to staff PODs in the event of an infectious disease-related emergency.
    Whenever possible, volunteers will be kept in their communities.

    "You're helping your neighbors here. The whole model that we're using is very community oriented," said Kathy Lordo, Hamilton County assistant health commissioner.

    In the event of a pandemic, a request from Hamilton County for antibiotics or vaccines will be routed through the state to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Lordo said. The CDC is required to supply the medicine within 12 hours.

    By then, PODs in every Hamilton County community except Cincinnati, Norwood, Springdale and Sharonville - cities with health departments - should be activated.

    Through media notification and information on the health district Web site,, the public will be notified of where heads of households can pick up medicine with instructions on how to administer the drugs as authorities work to find the source of the outbreak, Lordo said.

    "Maybe you can't identify real quickly where the individuals are who were exposed," Lordo explained. "The best thing to do is to give medication to everybody until you can get it narrowed down to where that infection occurred."

    Hamilton County started planning PODs two years ago in a nationwide effort to develop plans for large-scale medical emergencies, Lordo said.

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