State and Local Agencies Discuss Plans for Flu Outbreak

MARCH 9, 2006 - Posted at 8:02 a.m. CST

FERNDALE, AR - A state health official says there's a constant risk of influenza, but that the recent cases of bird flu overseas are more reason to plan now for a possible outbreak in Arkansas.  Representatives of state, county and local governments met yesterday at Ferndale, west of Little Rock, to discuss how communities in Arkansas are planning for pandemic flu.

In January, Governor Huckabee announced the state was forming a specific plan for a possible outbreak.  Doctor Nate Smith, medical director of infectious disease at the state Department of Health and Human Services, said yesterday's Influenza Pandemic Conference was a way to give a progress report on the state's plan.

The conference was also an opportunity for the Division of Health to hear local officials' views on decisions that would have to be made in their communities during an outbreak.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)