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State not ready for widespread flu pandemic

December 24, 2007
by Hillary Chabot
Sentinel and Enterprise

Massachusetts hasn't bought any anti-viral medication to use in the event of a global influenza pandemic, and a tight fiscal year means it may be shelved again this year. The Bay State is just one of seven states that still haven't purchased the drugs, according to a report released last week about the country's emergency preparedness. "If we're not equally prepared than the capacity of the virus to spread, not just in Massachusetts but elsewhere, will be greater," said Jeff Levi, executive director of the nonprofit health advocacy group the Trust for America's Health. "Viruses don't respect state borders." The annual report card also gave Massachusetts bad marks for not stockpiling medication and not having the capacity to test for biological threats. The state improved its score this year, fulfilling seven of the 10 emergency planning goals as opposed to six last year.

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