Hawaii Prepared for Bird Flu

Jim Foppoli
Jim Foppoli

(KHNL) - The chances of the bird flu hitting Hawaii are pretty low.

But state officials said they're ready for any bird flu outbreak, among birds or people.

"I think we're pretty well prepared," said Jim Foppoli, state veterinarian.

He said if the virus arrives here, agriculture officials would alert gamecock and poultry producers.

"Wherever a wild bird was found positive, we'd take a certain radius around that site and start to do surveillance on farms," said Foppoli.

The bird flu is usually spread through bird to human contact. The good news is, migratory birds don't usually fly here. Although very rare, there have been a few cases of human to human transmission.

State officials believe people don't need to worry about all of this, but they should be concerned.

That's why they say you should always practice good hygiene to prevent the spread of any virus. As for the state, while they say they're ready, they add, there's always room for more preparation.

"What you do, is you try to have drills and exercises, drills amongst our staff, lay out a scenario," said Foppoli.

In just a couple of weeks, several state and federal agencies will perform a mock exercise at Barbers Point.

The three-day exercise is one of a series of pandemic flu-related exercises in the Pacific.