Concerned that a swine flu outbreak could overwhelm medical facilities in Southern Oregon, doctors and nurses in Jackson and Josephine counties are being asked to join a list of medical professionals willing to respond should an outbreak occur.

Concerned that a swine flu outbreak could overwhelm medical facilities in Southern Oregon, doctors and nurses in Jackson and Josephine counties are being asked to join a list of medical professionals willing to respond should an outbreak occur.

The Jackson County and the Josephine County Medical Reserve Corps programs need at least 50 physicians and 100 nurses to adequately prepare for an outbreak, according to a press release sent jointly by Jackson County Health and Human Services and Medical Reserve Corps VISTA in Josephine County.

The Medical Reserve Corps also needs doctors and nurses to help administer H1N1 virus vaccinations, which will begin in October. Health care workers, children and women who are pregnant will be the first to receive the vaccinations.

To help, medical professionals can call Beth DePew, Region 5 hospital preparedness coordinator, at 774-8029 in Jackson County, or Jessica Cordero at 474-5325, ext. 2237, in Josephine County. Information is also available at www.serv-or.org and both county Web sites, www.jacksoncounty.org or www.co.josephine.or.us.

"With the recent prediction of one in three Americans contracting the H1N1 flu virus this year, it is crucial that we prepare for a possible outbreak that could significantly affect our community," Dr. Jim Shames, health officer of Jackson and Josephine counties, said in the release. "This is an opportunity for our outstanding field of local doctors, nurses and other medical professionals to make a big impact in managing this disease."

— Staff reports