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Responding Rapidly to Public Health Emergencies Using New Media: Swine Flu


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As many of you know, this week, HHS declared swine flu to be a national public health emergency. At we’re particularly concerned about this issue because people with compromised immune systems, including those living with HIV/AIDS, are more likely to become ill from diseases like the flu.

New media tools can help support our efforts to deliver public health messages quickly and broadly. We are using those tools to spread the word about the swine flu outbreak and to support the public health community’s response to it. We ask you to join us in this important mission.

A Few Ways to Help

  • Retweet messages Exit Disclaimer coming from the @CDCemergency conversation Exit Disclaimer on Twitter. If you Tweet or Retweet about swine flu, please use the following hash tag: #swineflu Exit Disclaimer.
  • Embed a widget on your website which provides three primary categories of information (general, news about the investigation, and what people can do). This is the English version. A Spanish version will be available soon.
  • Visit the CDC’s frequently asked questions and answers––share them with your colleagues, friends, and family.
  • Subscribe to’s News Release RSS feed.

This situation challenges those of us working on HIV/AIDS issues to ensure that we understand what these new media tools are and how they can effectively fit into our regular communication and emergency response planning.

Given the importance of our working with the broader public health community on this emergency, we have rescheduled our planned blog post on Personal Health Records (PHRs) for Tuesday, May 5. We hope you’ll join us then for a conversation with Chitra Mohla, from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, to learn more about PHRs and their importance in the HIV community.

Do you have other suggestions of new media resources and/or ways new media could help us communicate information about this (and other) public health emergencies?

Note: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the swine flu virus is transmitted the same way other flu viruses are spread and can be prevented by taking similar precautions, like washing your hands and covering your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze.