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Health and Family Services Cabinet
Public Health to Host Avian Influenza Workshop

Press Release Date:  Friday, October 26, 2007  
Contact Information:  Gwenda Bond or Barbara Fox
(502) 564-6786
 


FRANKFORT, Ky. (Oct. 26, 2007) – The Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH) and the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department will host an avian influenza (bird flu) responder workshop Oct. 29-30 to discuss how agencies would respond to an outbreak of the disease in birds, with the potential to spread to humans. 
       The two-day workshop in Lexington will bring together representatives from groups across the state to discuss responsibilities and identify gaps in current avian influenza response plans. 
        Last year, Governor Ernie Fletcher hosted a state summit in Frankfort on pandemic flu planning with top federal health officials. Kentucky’s local health departments followed that effort with a series of 50 summits aimed at local planning covering all 120 counties. This workshop builds on the success of these earlier summits.
       “This workshop will be an ideal opportunity for public health officials to learn about how the poultry industry handles infection control and containment, and to integrate our respective response plans should bird flu jump from poultry into the human population,” said William D. Hacker, M.D., commissioner for public health and acting undersecretary for health at the Cabinet for Health and Family Services.
       Approximately 200 participants are expected to attend the invitation-only workshop from a variety of public health fields, including epidemiology, laboratory, communicable disease, preparedness, surveillance, environmental health and infection control. Other agencies and groups participating include the Kentucky Poultry Federation and commercial poultry producers, the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Resources, Kentucky Emergency Management, U.S. Department of Agriculture, hospital infection control practitioners and county agriculture/natural resources extension agents.  
        "Protecting the public is our most important duty, so it’s crucial that we fully prepare for the possibility of avian influenza,” said Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer. "The poultry industry contributes more than $800 million to Kentucky's economy every year. This workshop will give state and federal animal health officials, public health officials and the industry an opportunity to learn how to support one another’s work."
        The Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE) initially created the workshop. Six DPH staff attended CSTE train-the-trainer workshops to bring the valuable planning workshops to Kentucky. CSTE awarded a grant to DPH to assist with implementing the training.
        More information on avian influenza is available at www.cdc.gov/flu/avian.
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Last Updated 10/26/2007