Editorial: Be prepared in case of fluThe big flu virus has finally arrived — or has it?
By: R-E Editorial Board, The Republican Eagle
The big flu virus has finally arrived — or has it?
Minnesota health officials declared the state “prepared” for a possible bird flu epidemic a couple years ago.
Goodhue County has had comprehensive emergency response plans in place for a couple decades, thanks in part to frequent, comprehensive training related to the nuclear plant.
The Goodhue County Public Health Service — the predecessor to the public health service statewide -- modified and upgraded its plans after the bird flu scare, and staff continued to receive training after the initial scare waned.
Fairview Red Wing Medical Center has screening and testing processes in place. Supplies are ready.
The Public Health Service, Fairview Red Wing and state health officials .
In fact, they have collaborated on numerous projects to address health threats. They have done this so well that the public may not remember their safe and effective handling of two potentially deadly outbreaks right here since 1990: tuberculosis and group A streptococcal bacteria, also known necrotizing fascitis or flesh-eating bacteria.
All these preparations and all this expertise can and will be used to fight an outbreak of the swine flu -- if one happens. That's a big if.
Our point is, don’t panic.
That’s the same message health officials give in today’s Page 1 story and that Dr. David Harris shares in his letter on this page. Equally important, the story and letter tell people what to do — beginning with the simplest of disease prevention measures: Cover your mouth when you sneeze or cough and wash your hands.
Could the swine flu, the H1N1 virus that has killed a hundred people in Mexico and spread to other countries, the start a pandemic? No one knows.
President Obama sounded the right note Monday when he acknowledged a genuine reason for concern and a need a heightened state of alert, but no cause for alarm.
What we do know is that sensible precautions — not panic — will go a long way toward preventing a lethal flu strain from sweeping through the world and killing millions as happened in 1918-19.
Local and state health teams are ready, but the best response starts with you.