Former Gov. Mitch Daniels' Newsroom

Contact: Jane Jankowski
Phone: 317/232-1622

For Immediate Release: Feb 10, 2006
Indiana to host statewide flu pandemic summit

INDIANAPOLIS (February 10, 2006) ? Indiana?s preparations for response to a possible avian flu pandemic are in place, including updating plans for all 92 counties, and Governor Mitch Daniels today urged Hoosiers to be ready as well.

Indiana will host a statewide summit in March to discuss the state?s preparations to respond to a possible flu pandemic. The governor has invited Health and Human Services Administration Secretary Michael Leavitt to participate in the March 23 event.

?We have to be ready, because it is not impossible that we could have a flu emergency. Hoosiers should know that we have been working on this and have solid preparations in place. If we do have to implement, life would be different for awhile,? said Daniels.

Dr. Judith Monroe, state health commissioner, and Eric Dietz, executive director of the Department of Homeland Security, are spearheading the state?s efforts. The Department of Health previously has released its plan, created by a special planning committee within the department. Among provisions, the plan includes such strategies as improving timeliness of reporting of flu-like illnesses, improving disease surveillance and strategies to use isolation and quarantine authority or limiting public gatherings to control spread of disease.

The complete plan may be found at:

Homeland Security worked closely with the Department of Health to create the preparedness plan. Homeland Security would be responsible for managing the continuity-of-operations planning procedures for all state and local governments, which is a critical component of an appropriate response plan, Dietz said, and would integrate Indiana's emergency response, management and recovery operations.

The health department also is making educational presentations to community groups and providers, and Monroe has created a technical advisory group composed of physicians, emergency responders, crisis communications personnel, representatives of the Center for Disease Control and others to provide policy advice and subject matter expertise.

?Indiana's successful response to an avian flu outbreak in this state will depend upon all sectors, including schools, businesses, healthcare providers, local officials, faith-based organizations, and families creating their own preparedness plans. Our upcoming summit and additional education efforts throughout the state will help guide everyone in those efforts,? said Monroe.

In addition to planning efforts, the health and homeland security departments are supporting legislation currently under consideration by the Indiana General Assembly to improve the state?s quarantine laws to address the unique circumstances that would occur during a large-scale outbreak.

Specifics about the March 23 summit will be released at a later date.