Inspector General: Country is not prepared for viral pandemic

About 80% of stocked anti-viral drugs to expire by end of next year

The US Inspector General says the Country is “ill prepared” to handle a viral pandemic.

An example would be something like the Swine Flu or the H1N1 outbreak from 2009.

The report says about 80-percent of the anti-viral drugs in storage, along with all of the stored Tamiflu, will expire by the end of next year.

The La Crosse County Health Department doesn’t keep a stockpile of drugs. The director says that would be financially irresponsible to keep 2,000 local health departments stocked for everything. Instead, local departments focus on local health issues and know how to get help in case of a pandemic.

“The Center for Disease Control does work closely with private businesses who are in the process of making those medication, so that if we need to gear up quickly, they have the capacity to do that. And they also have the capacity to get it to high priority areas quicker than through normal free market enterprise process,” said La Crosse County Health Department Director Doug Mormann.

Hospitals in the Midwest have seen more upper respiratory cases linked to an enterovirus. We haven’t had any confirmed cases in La Crosse but one local hospital says if there was an outbreak we could handle it.

“A lot of the things that we’ve been preparing for a novel influenza strain, can translate over to our preparedness activities for an enterovirus if we get to an outbreak situation in our community,” said Gundersen Health System Infection Preventionist Marilyn Michels.

The health professionals agree the best thing the public can do is educate themselves on what to do in case of an outbreak, similar to having an escape plan if there is a fire in your house.