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WEST VIRGINIA - Pre-pandemic meetings

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  • WEST VIRGINIA - Pre-pandemic meetings

    Second flu pandemic meeting set for today

    By Sarah Zopfi
    The Herald-Dispatch

    HUNTINGTON -- Round two in a series of pandemic preparation meetings will be today at the Cabell-Huntington Health Department.

    Department Director Dr. Harry Tweel said this meeting, which begins at 4 p.m., will focus on how the community will come together to provide vital services and share information should a pandemic flu strike.

    "This meeting is to equate the committee with the charge we have been given," Tweel said. "We want to outline specific areas of planning."

    During the first meeting last week, which was attended by about 100 Wayne and Cabell County officials, medical representatives and religious leaders, Tweel outlined some steps the counties need to take to prepare for an outbreak.

    First, he said the community needs to assess what needs to be put in place. For instance, what will be done if schools were closed for an extended period of time? How would people communicate to their work place if person-to-person contact was not possible?

    Secondly, a team of volunteers needs to be formed to help create the first draft of an emergency plan. Eventually, the entire two counties will have a practice drill to follow.

    It is Tweel's hope that these questions will be answered today.

    "If drugs were distributed to us to distribute, the problem won't be getting them to our area," Tweel said. "In the event of a pandemic, we would need people to let us know where those people who need help are, like the homebound."

    But for humanity, the news is fairly good. The World Health Organization, which has been monitoring infections with H5N1 flu, says that although there have been cases of human-to-human transmission, the virus has not evolved into a form that easily can pass from person to person, a necessary step for a pandemic.

    The most recent victim was a 15-year-old boy who died in Indonesia on May 30. The World Health Organization says he had direct contact with infected chickens in his household. None of his family or friends became ill.

    There have been 225 human cases of H5N1 flu, including the 128 deaths. Human cases have occurred in 10 countries -- Azerbaijan, Cambodia, China, Djibouti, Egypt, Indonesia, Iraq, Thailand, Turkey and Vietnam -- and include several clusters in which the virus passed from one family member to another but did not spread into the community.

  • #2
    WEST VIRGINIA - Pre-pandemic meetings

    By Steve Butera
    July 22, 2006 (WDTV NewsChannel Five)

    From emergency crews to concerned citizens, folks from across the region are learning more about a possible flu pandemic.

    More than 100 people packed Camp Dawson's Armed Forces Reserve Center in Kingwood on Saturday for an informational meeting about the illness and the potential impact to our area. Because places, like Preston County, are rural, experts warn that everybody will need to take care of themselves.

    "We want to find our strong points," said Preston County Local Emergency Planning Commission Chairman Randy DeBease. "We want to find out where our weak points are in this particular county so we can address the weak points and bring them up to standard that we would feel would be acceptable to handle."

    Officials from the Preston County Health Department said 40% of America's workforce won't be able to perform because of the possible pandemic.