Missouri Plans for Bird Flu
If a pandemic occurs, the federal government would be unable to help the whole country, so it emphasizes states and local communities should prepare themselves. So far, the risk is for poultry, not people, because migratory waterbirds are most likely to bring the flu to the U.S.
"We are having an outbreak of planning, not an outbreak of disease," said Eddie Hedrick of the Missouri Department of Health.
He said Missouri is on the right track with its pandemic planning compared to the federal government.
"A lot of people will ask, 'Are you overreacting? Do you think you are overdoing this whole thing?' And the answer is, 'I hope so,'" Hedrick explained. "It's one of those things that, if you prepare, you are much better off."
Health experts recommend people wash their hands, avoid crowded places, and store water and food at home.
Hedrick added Missouri is due for a flu pandemic because the last one was 40 years ago. But, even if it does not happen, he said planning is helpful for other emergencies.