Eagle County, partners to develop bird flu plan | VailDaily.com

Eagle County, partners to develop bird flu plan

As the deadly H5N1 avian flu virus continues to infect migratory birds and poultry abroad, government officials are ramping up their defenses against a potential human-to-human outbreak, also known as a pandemic influenza. Mike Leavitt, Secretary of the U.S Department of Health and Human Services, will be in Denver on Friday to join Governor Bill Owens at Colorados first summit on Pandemic Readiness and Emergency Planning. This summit will provide a state blueprint for pandemic planning that we can use locally, said Jill Hunsaker, the countys public health manager. It coincides with emergency preparation efforts beginning at Eagle Countys Public Safety Council, and with new funding available to hospitals and local public health agencies for community bird-flu planning. Hunsaker and an initial planning group including representatives from the Vail Valley Medical Center, Eagle County Health Services District, and Vail Public Safety will attend the summit. The group plans to bring back specific recommendations for residents. According to an invitation letter from Governor Bill Owens, the summit will provide planning, prevention, response and recovery strategies for an influenza pandemic. It will also help delineate the responsibilities of government, business, and individuals. Eagle County Health & Human Services, in cooperation with Vail Valley Medical Center, will be convening a formal planning process around pandemic disease outbreaks to take place over the next six months. It is anticipated that participation will include health care, law enforcement, emergency medical services, emergency management organizations, the business community and citizens. Vail Colorado

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