WASHINGTON, D.C.Two top state officials are in Washington, D.C. today working with health care and emergency preparedness leaders from the federal government and other states on continued planning for H1N1 influenza preparedness.

 Louisiana Department of Health Secretary Alan Levine and Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness Director Mark Cooper are participating in the 2009 Flu Summit, an all-day H1N1 flu preparedness meeting and workshop with states to further prepare the nation for the possibility of a more severe outbreak of H1N1 flu in the fall. The event is being hosted by Secretaries Kathleen Sebelius of the Department of Health and Human Services, Janet Napolitano of the Department of Homeland Security, and Arne Duncan of the Department of Education, along with Homeland Security Advisor John Brennan.

 Federal, state and local officials, emergency managers, educators and others are discussing lessons learned during the spring and summer H1N1 wave, and best practices and preparedness priorities for the fall and beyond.  Public health and infectious disease epidemiology experts from LDH are also participating via web conference.

 LDH Secretary Levine said, “We expect a highly active fall flu season, and the first and best line of defense will be our individual citizens, who can take aggressive but simple steps now to protect themselves and their loved ones. DHH’s infectious disease, immunization, emergency preparedness, and public health experts are working very closely with government agencies, health care professionals and hospitals to ensure our state is ready for a possible new outbreak.”

 GOHSEP Director Cooper said, “The H1N1 outbreak in the spring was a precursor of what’s possibly to come in the fall. At the state level, we are taking all measures possible to make sure we are prepared to handle the worst case scenario and keep the citizens of Louisiana as informed and healthy as possible. As an all-hazards agency, we work closely with other state agencies such as LDH to make sure we have the necessary resources to handle emergencies at all levels.”

 Sessions include an H1N1 Situational Update from the director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; discussions on activities and priorities for the U.S. departments of Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, and Education; panel discussions on school preparedness, preparedness lessons learned from states and localities, and risk communications; and breakout sessions for participants to share their own lessons learned, case studies and best practices.

For the most current national information on H1N1 flu, avian flu and other pandemic flu information, visitwww.flu.gov, managed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

 For the most current state information on H1N1 flu, visit www.flula.com, managed by DHH.

 The Louisiana Department of Health strives to protect and promote health statewide and to ensure access to medical, preventive and rehabilitative services for all state citizens. To learn more about LDH, visit http://www.dhh.louisiana.gov.