U.S. More Prepared for H5N1 Thanks to CDC's Partnership

CDC said a three-day course released online yesterday and titled "CDC/CSTE Rapid Response Training: The Role of Public Health in a Multi-Agency Response to Avian Influenza in the United States," will improve the nation's preparedness for an H5N1 avian flu outbreak, because local and state public health agencies can use it to train rapid response teams. The course was created in partnership with the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists, to which CDC gave $2 million to support development of the materials, in-person training, adapting the materials for online access, and helping states use the training in their own curricula.

While no human H5N1 cases have been reported in the United States or the Western Hemisphere, inspections are widespread among birds in Asia and parts of Africa and Europe -- and, to date, 172 of 291 human illnesses have proven fatal, CDC said yesterday. The course is available at www.cste.org/influenza/avian.asp. "We are pleased to release a new avian influenza training program that our state and local public-health partners can use to train rapid response teams," said Joshua Mott, an epidemiologist in CDC’s Influenza Division who led the training development project. The training includes lectures, reference materials, and case studies to encourage discussions and planning among people who may be called on to respond to avian flu in the United States.

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