Buck attends Influenza Summit
April 14th, 2006 -KONP News
(Port Angeles, WA) -- An Olympic Peninsula lawmaker took part in the Washington State Pandemic Influenza Summit Friday in Tacoma.
State Representative Jim Buck of Joyce has made emergency preparedness a top priority during the legislative interim. The state-sponsored meeting brought together an estimated 850 participants, including public health officials and emergency management organizers to discuss planning efforts for a potential influenza pandemic.
The Washington pandemic planning conference is similar to sessions that have been held since the beginning of the year in every state, seven territories and Puerto Rico. Buck says 34-thousand Americans died when the last pandemic hit the country in 1968, but twenty times that number were killed in the 1918 pandemic.
Buck noted that the 1918 strain was particularly virulent, often killing victims within 24 hours of the onset of symptoms. The 24th District legislator says there was panic, doctors and nurses were kidnapped, patients starved, and the country experienced massive disruptions of services.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that a pandemic caused by a relatively mild virus – comparable to the 1968 strain – could result in the deaths of nearly 89-thousand and up to 207-thousand Americans.
Buck says preparation matters and he's pleased with the contingency planning and coordinated efforts that are being put in place to ensure that our state is equipped to face what could become a large-scale and widespread health emergency.