Pandemic Flu discussion on Wednesday

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Just received this press release:

Are you a business owner, manager, leader, or decision maker in your public or private organization? Is your organzation prepared to deal with a global outbreak of influenza? Listening to Communities invites you to participate in “Pandemic Flu and You,” an information-sharing and brainstorming session on Wednesday, October 4 at the Grant County Administration Building (1400 Highway 180). To accommodate schedules, two sessions will be offered, one from 1-3 p.m., and one from 6-8 p.m.

The world is due for another severe influenza pandemic. Public health officials are closely watching the “bird flu” virus, H5N1, as it spreads between wild aquatic birds and domestic poultry. H5N1 has begun to infect humans, and virologists fear that the virus will develop the ability to spread from person-to-person. If H5N1 develops this ability, it will spread globally, rapidly, and unstoppably. Every person in the world will be susceptible to this new flu; no one is immune.

“The effects of an influenza pandemic will reach every sector of our communities,” says Listening to Communities director Margot White, J.D., of the University of New Mexico Institute for Public Health. “Health-care systems will be overloaded and medical supplies inadequate. Schools and businesses will close as people stay home to care for sick family members or to avoid falling ill themselves. Events will be cancelled. Supplies will be difficult to obtain as trucking and transportation systems break down.”

“Listening to Communities” is a project designed to help communities address the threat of a global outbreak of influenza and its potential effects. The project is designed to help communities create an organized, community-based process to the threat of pandemic influenza by providing a way for residents to come together to share information, concerns and ideas. Additional presentations and town hall meetings are planned in Grant County throughout the month of October.

“Our goal is to have one representative attend from each organization in Grant County, including community and faith-based organizations, public and private service agencies, nonprofits, and businesses,” says Gary Stailey, Chair of the Grant County Community Health Council, which is co-sponsoring the events. Other “Listening to Communities” sponsors include the Grant County Office of Emergency Management, Gila Regional Medical Center, Black Range RC&D, New Mexico Department of Health, and University of New Mexico Institute for Public Health.

For further information, call the Grant County Health Council at (505) 388-1198 e-mail listening@gcchc.org.

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