The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released guidance on communicating pediatric-related information on pandemic influenza at the community level. Below are some excerpts from the document.
Effective communication is a key component of emergency response planning. It can help direct the medical community and the general public to take appropriate action to contain a disease outbreak, limit exposure, and reduce morbidity and mortality. On the other hand, ineffective communication can lead to confusion in both the general public and the emergency response community. It can interfere with the response to an incident. It can lead to public distrust and skepticism, and, once that has happened, it is difficult to regain that trust.
The purpose of this document is to provide a suggested approach, based on input from pediatric stakeholders, to communicating pediatric-related information on pandemic influenza at the community level in a step-by-step manner. This is a suggested approach to coordinating communication and disseminating information; it can be adapted or modified to suit most communities as they see fit. The goal is to give community planners "talking points" for discussions on a coordinated approach to communication in their community.
The target audience for this document is community planners who would oversee communication with the medical community and the general public during an influenza pandemic.
During an influenza pandemic, a lack of a coordinated approach to communication between the medical community and the general public can result in confusion and actions that interfere with the medical response to the outbreak. To address this issue, pediatric stakeholders, including members of national associations (medical, health, and school related), pediatric primary care providers, and hospitals, met to develop a suggested approach to coordinating the communication of pediatric-related information during the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic.