New Orleans – As part of the state’s initiative to prepare for an influenza pandemic, the Louisiana Department of Health Office of Public Health has scheduled a training exercise to help the parishes in New Orleans and the surrounding areas of the state prepare to respond for a future influenza pandemic. The parishes included in the training include Jefferson, Orleans, Plaquemines and St. Bernard.

The training exercise is scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2007, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Embassy Suites Hotel, 315 Julia Street, New Orleans, Louisiana.

This training is one of nine regional exercises that feature a discussion-based scenario designed to educate communities about an influenza pandemic and assist communities in working with local, tribal, territorial and state public health officials as they undertake critical preparedness planning.

In addition, exercises such as this help identify local and regional partners who will be critical should a widespread influenza pandemic outbreak ever occur. Those invited to the training exercise include business and industry leaders, safety professionals, faith-based organizations, tribal organizations and other federal, state and local agencies involved in influenza pandemic planning.

Members of the news media are invited to attend.