Summit Addresses State Preparedness for Pandemic Flu
Los Angeles is "a good example of the preparation that has been made" for a possible avian influenza pandemic, but the state still faces several preparedness challenges, such as the limited capacity of hospitals, HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt said, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Leavitt, speaking at a summit for pandemic preparedness on Thursday, said local communities should assume they will have to be self-sufficient for at least a few days in the event of a pandemic.
State Public Health Officer Mark Horton said the state's "single greatest challenge in addressing the pandemic" will be the capacity of hospitals to handle large influxes of patients. Officials also spoke about the challenges of developing and administering medications and vaccines in an epidemic (Chong, Los Angeles Times, 3/31).
California will receive $6.7 million in federal flu preparedness funds. Los Angeles County will receive $2.9 million (Hoops, Ventura County Star, 3/31).