A longer version of this post is also available at the Reach the Public Blog.
Federal, state, and local health agencies are working overtime to inform the public about the recent Swine Flu outbreak that is currently affecting Mexico and small portions of the United States, but that poses a real international threat.
Direct information from the government is an important primary source of information for the public, the media, and the public health community during an outbreak.
Because our company works with the majority of federal health agencies and a large number of state and local agencies on digital outreach, we see the broad range of critically important messages going out the public. Already, government agencies have sent hundreds of thousands of messages regarding Swine Flu.
Here is a sample of those messages:
- Centers for Disease Control (English)
- Centers for Disease Control (Spanish)
- U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
- Texas Health & Human Services System (English)
- Texas Health & Human Services System (Spanish)
- Minnesota Department of Health
- San Diego County
When there is an emergency or potential emergency affecting your agency, you should follow the lead of these government communicators and get the word out as quickly as possible by using all key online and offline channels including your website, email, text message, and traditional media. The key is to act quickly so that the citizens learn as much information as possible directly from their government.
See this story from the recent peanut recall to understand how every bit of communication makes a difference.
Please do not for get the pandemic bloggers on Twitter, Flu Trackers, Avian Flu diary, Fla_Medic and http://www.newfluwiki2.com I’ve talked with several people today and non of them have heard of swine flu. The blogs, twitter and Flu wiki are all good social media.
Another CDC site for swine flu is: http://www.cdc.gov/swineflu/investigation.htm?s_cid=tw_epr_59
CDC has brought together pod casts that people can take with them and share. Not everyone has a computer nor a cable hookup.
NPR also had Mrs Chan from WHO talking about swine flu.
Note: Mexico is following good pandemic protocol by closing schools and sporting events. Tonight a soccer game will be played in an empty stadium.
The lead story on NBC news was swine flu
Lead story on 6:30 NBC news is swine flu. CDC DR. Bessel and Dr. Micheal Osterholm are interviewed. While the news is well covered many questions about what people can do are left unanswered.
Thank you for the insightful comments. Dr. Osterholm was on our local news here last night because he is based out of CIDRAP (Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy) here at the University of Minnesota. Their website is also an excellent resource at: http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/
CIDRAP is a great group covering more than pandemics.
At 8pm Sat Apr 24 there are 11 known, confirmed, cases in California, TX and Kansas, 1 suspect in UK and 8 suspect in NY
Many pandemic blogs are all a twitter ( pun intended) with comments. Like the Mexican army giving out face masks when local pharmacies ran out. That LaRoche stock may open higher on Monday as they make Tamiflu.
That swine flu H1N1 may become tamiflu resistant as there are several N1 flu virus that are in the US, UK and Asia.
Here social media is answering questions and helping out. This is not a report but a “What is happening” and “how to” effort. One of the great parts of social media is how it helps people help people in almost real time.
BTW on Google Trends the number of people searching on swine flu continues to rise.
As always – be prepared – not scared.
As Kobie said “Everything I know never changed my mind as much as the one thing I did not”