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Missouri Is Preparing for Bird Flu Pandemic

November 1, 2005
By: Tim Walker
State Capital Bureau

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services has not decided who would be the first to receive a Bird Flu vaccine.

Tim Walker has more from Jefferson City.

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The Federal Government is set to release a new plan to combat a potential pandemic flu outbreak in the US.

Eddie Hedrick, the Emerging Infections Coordinator for the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services says the department will tailor the plan to fit vaccination needs in the state.

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"The high risk groups that traditionally get the vaccine would not necessarily be the high risk groups that would get the vaccines first under these circumstances. For example, you have to take care of essential medical personnel, make sure they're protected, so in caring for people they don't become infected."

But Hedrick says the goal is to have a vaccine available for everyone.

Reporting from the state Capital, I'm Tim Walker.

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The state of Missouri is reacting to President Bush's speech concerning the possibility of a flu pandemic.

Tim Walker has more from Jefferson City.

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The president is asking for over seven billion dollars in emergency funds to prepare the US for an outbreak of the Bird Flu.

Eddie Hedrick, Emergency Infections Coordinator for the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services says it is difficult to develop a plan without knowing how the Bird Flu will effect humans.

But Hedrick says public participation is critical.

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"It's not something the government can just go and give you a quick fix to. There is no magic bullet for a virus infection like this. It takes time to manufacture a vaccine."

Hedrick says the state began planning for a pandemic flu outbreak over ten years ago.

Reporting from the state Capital, I'm Tim Walker.

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A top public health official says Missourians can't count on a popular flu treatment when it comes to a possible outbreak of the Bird Flu.

Tim Walker has more from Jefferson City.

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Eddie Hedrick, Emerging Infections Coordinator for the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services says the drug "Tamiflu" is not a practical solution for Bird Flu outbreak.

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"For preventative treatment, Tamiflu would have to be taken a couple times a day throughout this season when the virus was here. That becomes extraordinarily costly and compliance becomes a problem with the public taking it for that long."

But Hedrick says the cost is worth it if someone has already contracted the Bird Flu.

Reporting from the state Capital, I'm Tim Walker.