Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Will Collin Co. Be Ready, If The Swine Flu Hits Hard Next Flu Season?

The Collin County Observer reported yesterday that The Collin County Commissioners Court, in their role as Health Care Trustees for the county, had a meeting with Candy Blair, the county's Director of Health Care Services, to consider a contract with the Texas State Department of Health to purchase anti-viral drugs as part of the county's H1N1 swine flu preparedness plan. (The anti-viral drug is given after exposure to the Flu.)
Ms. Blair explained to the court that the county will only be purchasing 600 doses of the anti-viral drugs for "first responders" and "essential personnel" in the county. According to the Observer report Ms. Blair told the commissioners that the State was only planning to procure 570,000 doses, and those were not for general distribution to the public - even in case of pandemic.

The purpose of the state program is to ensure that in the event of a major epidemic, essential services are uninterrupted. The commissioners asked Ms. Blair to prepare, for court approval, the list of 500 essential employees eligible to receive the anti-viral drugs.
Is this enough for Texas, considering the state has a population of 24,326,974 people? [quickfacts] Is it enough for Collin Co. with a population of 800,000 people? Consider the following article published on July 17, 2009 in the London Times.

The Times Online: Britain's National Health Service (NHS) has been told to plan for a worst-case scenario of 65,000 swine flu deaths this year.
The news came as the number of people to die after contracting the virus rose sharply.

The surge prompted officials to announce the launch next week of the National Pandemic Flu Service, as disclosed yesterday in The Times.

The advice to prepare for 65,000 deaths is based on 30 per cent of the population falling ill. Children under 14 are being hit hardest and the NHS was told to plan for a worst-case scenario of up to half of all children being infected during a first pandemic wave. Sir Liam said there was now “exceptional influenza activity” across most of the country.

The planning model given to the NHS shows that deaths could range from 19,000 to 65,000 if 30 per cent of the population fell ill. In the pandemics of 1957-58 and 1968-70, between 25 and 30 per cent were infected. In the former, 33,000 people died; in the latter it was a few thousand fewer.

The model says that the NHS should prepare for up to 12 per cent of the workforce to be off sick. However, it emphasises that its figures are not a prediction but based on a “reasonable worst-case scenario for planning purposes”.
Great Britain has an estimated population of 60,943,912 people.

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