Town meeting addresses flu outbreak preparations

By CNJ Staff

What: Two town hall meetings are being hosted this week to help residents prepare for the slim possibility of a pandemic flu outbreak.

Why: The meetings are part of a national campaign to raise awareness and educate people on preparedness, according to Ken De Los Santos, director of the Clovis/Curry County Emergency Management Office.

Health officials with the Center for Disease Control are predicting in coming years a flu strain will affect world populations on potentially catastrophic levels, De Los Santos said.

“We want citizens to be aware. We’re not saying the sky is falling — we’re saying the sky could fall, so be prepared,” he said.

When: 6-7:30 p.m. Monday and Tuesday at the Clovis-Carver Public Library, North Annex.

Sources: A panel of officials from a variety of agencies will be on hand to give presentations and answer questions from the public.

Background: From 1918 to 1919, the Spanish flu claimed the lives of 500, 000 U.S. citizens and killed between 20 and 50 million worldwide, De Los Santos said.

Officials estimate the next pandemic flu will infect up to 200 million people worldwide and claim the lives of 88,000 to 300,000, De Los Santos said.

The age group most likely to be affected will be young adults, “The ones that you would not think it will hit, it’s going to hit the hardest,” he said.