States prep for possible swine flu pandemic

April 30, 2009
by Daniel C. Vock and Pauline Vu
State Line

As health officials across the country ramp up preparations to battle the swine flu, the head of a national coalition of state health officials warned Congress Tuesday (April 28) that states could be in trouble if infections reach a pandemic level.

Jeffrey Levi, the executive director of Trust for America's Health, a public health advocacy organization, said the preparations the country has made since then "are now paying off."   "In the last three and a half years, we've made monumental improvements in surveillance, coordination, communications, and control and treatment capabilities," Levi said.   All states are have increased surveillance at hospitals of people with flu-like symptoms. Some schools with confirmed or suspected cases in California, New York, Ohio and South Carolina have been shut down, including an entire school district in Texas. Health officials everywhere are getting the word out about commonsense ways to prevent the spread of the disease that include washing hands, covering sneezing or coughing, and staying home if infected.

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