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Texas Prepares for Outbreak

State health and emergency management officials co-host a series of regional conferences to discuss the outbreak of the H1N1 flu. One conference was held in the Houston area. Attendees discussed the three aspects of responding to the pandemic: preparedness, planning and purpose. Pat Hernandez has more.



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A total of 13-regional conferences are being held through next month. Doctor James Morgan is with the Texas Department of State Health Services. He says the state has done a lot of planning to respond to H1N1.  Dr Morgan says this particular virus does not appear to be any more severe than regular seasonal influenza, but:

“It is a virus that we don’t have natural immunity to; therefore, more people are likely to get it. And just on a proportionate basis, if more people get it and get sick with it then, there will be more deaths. That’s just a statistical fact.”

Morgan says it’s important that the healthcare system does not get overwhelmed. That’s where different municipalities can help.

“In many cases, communities can assist each other with surge capacity, medical surge capacity. I think that’s gonna be a key ingredient. So if there are hospitals that have access capacity and can take patients and transfer, to make sure that they’re spreading out that load of patients. They’re all working together to develop a plan for how they can cover each other and make sure that they’re not overwhelmed.”

An H1 N1 vaccine should be ready in October, and folks that are at highest risk for complications of influenza are encouraged to get immunized.  More information can be found at

PH, KUHF-Houston Public Radio News.

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