States to split $350M for flu prep

    Local health officials gathered in Maryland today for a pandemic flu summit. Federal leaders told them to go back to their home states and prepare for the worst.

    Local health officials gathered in Maryland today for a pandemic flu summit. Federal leaders told them to go back to their home states and prepare for the worst.

    Listen:

    [audio:090709kgflu.mp3]

    Swine flu has killed more than ten people and made thousands sick in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. Cases of the flu continue to increase and federal officials announced they would provide $350 million to help states gear up for an escalation. New Jersey’s health commissioner Heather Howard attended the flu meeting

    Howard: The main goal is how to we prepare for this fall in case there is a more severe outbreak this fall. We know that H1N1 is in NJ and it is widespread, but we need to use this time in the summer to really prepare for a potential severe outbreak this fall.

    Howard says the priorities are making a plan for school closures and figuring out who should get vaccinated if pandemic flu shots become available in the fall.

    Meghan Treber, the emergency preparedness assistant for Pennsylvania’s governor, also attended the flu summit. She says she doesn’t know yet how much the state will receive.

    Treber: We might be able to use it to expand our surveillance, our epidemiology capacity, our laboratory capacity, we’re not sure yet.

    New Jersey will be holding a series of state-wide summits, starting next week.

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