Health and Family Services Cabinet
State Health Department Releases Updated Pandemic Influenza Readiness Plan
The Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH) has released an updated state pandemic influenza (flu) readiness plan aimed at protecting Kentucky residents in the event of a worldwide epidemic of flu.
“Having a comprehensive plan in place to deal with an influenza pandemic is essential to ensuring that all segments of our population are aware of their roles in the event of an outbreak,” said William D. Hacker, M.D., commissioner for public health and acting undersecretary for health at the Cabinet for Health and Family Services. “Our updated plan outlines the important measures to take by state and local governments, health care providers, schools, businesses, and most importantly, individual citizens. Although currently there is no circulating pandemic influenza strain, this updated pandemic readiness plan will assist the state for a possible flu pandemic or disease outbreak.”
Kentucky initially prepared a pandemic flu plan in 2004 through a coordinated effort of state partners and stakeholders. The latest version incorporates strategies recently developed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). It outlines how DPH will coordinate with local, state and federal agencies, as well as other stakeholders, to ensure an effective overall response to a pandemic.
The plan is organized into sections that describe actions to be taken in each phase, including the detection of a new flu virus in Kentucky, methods to coordinate medical care, and steps to slow or prevent further spread of disease.
Key components of the updated plan include:
- Laboratory and surveillance for early virus detection and control
- Health care planning measures for health care system response
- Infection control measures for health care settings, schools, workplaces and community settings
- Clinical guidelines for early identification and appropriate medical intervention for suspected pandemic flu cases
- Vaccine and antiviral guidelines for planning distribution
- Disease transmission information for containment and prevention of disease, including travel management and legal authority for public health emergencies
- Public health communications to provide accurate and timely coordinated messages
- Psychosocial consideration for psychological and behavior effects
Governor Fletcher hosted a state-level summit on pandemic flu planning with top federal health officials in early 2006 in Frankfort. Kentucky’s local health departments followed that effort with a series of 50 summits aimed at local community planning involving all 120 counties.
According to the HHS, pandemic flu is virulent flu that causes a global outbreak, or pandemic, of serious illness.
The updated pandemic flu plan is online at www.chfs.ky.gov/dph/epi/preparedness/pandemicinfluenza.htm. More information on pandemic flu readiness is available at www.pandemicflu.gov.