The U.S. state of Texas, where the first U.S. cases of H1N1 flu deaths were reported, has 2.5 million courses of anti-viral medications in stock and has requested more medications to deal with any flu outbreak as traditional flu season nears and school begins, authorities said Monday.
Texas currently has 2.5 million courses of antiviral medication, and, as a proactive measure, it also has requested that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provide an additional 800,000 courses, according to a news release by Texas Governor Rick Perry's Press Office about the state's preparedness to deal with H1N1 flu.
Perry also sent a letter to U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano requesting that the federal government allow a pandemic to be eligible for a major disaster declaration, the news release said.
"Texas' effort to deal with the H1N1 virus is robust and we are more prepared than ever to handle the challenge with more anti-viral medication in stock, more state and local coordination and more science to battle H1N1," Perry said.
David Lakey, Commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services, said though the H1N1 virus "has rapidly spread worldwide, it has not changed and has not become more severe."
The existing medication can be used to treat H1N1 flu and seasonal flu as well. The CDC estimates the H1N1 vaccine will not be available until mid-October. It is estimated that 45 million doses will be available nationwide.
Schools and public health officials across the country have been preparing for the new flu season, amid worries that the novel strain will take off when students return to school and flu season begins.
(Xinhua News Agency August 25, 2009)