CommCore Blog and News

SARS vs. SWINE FLU – Comparisons and Differences

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As I’m writing, the European Health Commissioner has recommended that unless it is “essential,” that Europeans should avoid traveling to Mexico or the US.

Not since SARS have we seen a public health concern and watch that matches the focus on Swine Flu. While the outbreak started in Mexico, confirmed cases have reportedly been seen in the U.S. and in Canada.

I was privileged to be able to help Health Canada and the Canadian Government during the 2003 outbreak. Here are some initial thoughts on what public health officials should do:

Develop a web site as a central place for information. Information should be in English and Spanish. The English site for Mexico we have found is http://www.health.gob.mx/.

Many U.S. news sites have information as does the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.
Here are a few recommendations that came out of SARS:

  • Use the web site and update it often
  • Health officials in any city, town or national organization should set up a war room
  • Health officials should hold frequent meeting to decide on messages of the day
  • Hold briefings and post to the web as necessary
  • Ask for technical medical and health experts to hold briefings
  • Don’t speculate on information you don’t know
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