Flu Plan to Receive Funding

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Mississippi will receive $1.2 million for pandemic flu preparedness. The money will be used to ensure emergency plans for everything from vaccine distribution to reporting mechanisms are in place.

Some medical experts believe a pandemic is inevitable, but can't say if it might strike next year or in 20 years.

State Epidemiologist Dr. Mills McNeill says Mississippi has a pandemic flu plan that includes dispensing medicines and vaccines. The state's Health Department would work with others, including public safety officials, volunteers and hospitals.

Also in place is a surveillance network that includes emergency rooms and private doctors who can monitor the kind and the number of flu patients detected.

Several states have plans in place, but unlike the other states, Mississippi is still reeling from the effects of Hurricane Katrina.

Officials say the Aug. 29, 2005 hurricane's devastation may greatly comprise state officials ability to respond to a widespread medical emergency.