MAY 30, 2006 - Posted at 3:29 p.m. CST
LITTLE ROCK, AR - Arkansas public health officials say it's a good idea to stockpile two months of food, water and medicines in case of an outbreak of pandemic flu or any other emergency that could lead to shortages.
Arkansas public health officer Paul Halverson gave an update on pandemic flu preparedness to a state legislative committee today.
Scientists are monitoring the avian flu, which has been found in birds in Africa, Asia and Europe. The virus hasn't been found in North American birds and doesn't spread easily among humans. But researchers are concerned the virus could mutate to pass from person-to-person and lead to widespread deaths and economic problems.
Halverson says businesses and governments should plan on half of their workers being absent if a new form of flu breaks out, and says there are likely to be shortages of goods.
Halverson says it's possible that there won't be an outbreak of pandemic flu anytime soon, but he says everyone can benefit from being ready for an emergency that disrupts the economy.