Illinois Department of Public Health keeps caches of supplies for emergencies

To stay prepared for any emergencies that may arise, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) maintains action plans and caches of supplies to aid in response.

“State and local public health has bio-specific plans in place,” Shelia Porter, spokeswoman for the Illinois Department of Public Health, told BioPrepWatch. “These plans are annually reviewed and updated. We train and exercise on these plans regularly.”

For supplies, the state keeps a cache of antibiotics on hand to distribute to first responders in the event of an outbreak.

“In terms of Ebola medical countermeasures, currently there is no treatment for Ebola, only supportive care of the patient, so there is nothing in the state stockpile for Ebola,” Porter said.

The state has access to personal protective equipment (PPE) that would be useful during an outbreak of Ebola, although the inventory is not as up-to-date as it could be.

“We do have limited amounts of PPE (gloves, gowns, N95 respirators, face shields), but not the enhanced PPE in the CDC’s new recommendation (surgical hoods, aprons, coveralls and shoe/boot covers),” Porter said.

In the event of a bio-emergency, the department could rely on national aid as well.

“(The) CDC has a Strategic National Stockpile in place from which we would draw when state and local responses are overwhelmed,” Porter said. “This stockpile also includes the forward placement of chemical nerve agent antidotes for certain chemical attacks.”

When it comes to relating to the public, Porter told BioPrepWatch there is a state requirement in place to ensure “local public health departments…educate their stakeholders on certain public health events (terrorism attacks, natural outbreaks, etc.).”

The state also has to fulfill the Public Health Emergency Preparedness Capability 1 of Community Preparedness. This involves preparing the public for these types of emergencies.