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April 2009
Vol. 19 No. 4
From the President
IDSA Responds to H1N1 Influenza

IDSA has an important role to play in helping to address the current outbreak of H1N1 influenza, commonly known as swine flu. We are focusing on three areas:

  1. Providing useful updates to the membership, being careful not to duplicate other sources. The first update went out this weekend. We are also updating IDSA’s website, www.idsociety.org, with information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Food and Drug Administration, and other sources as we receive it. This issue of IDSA News includes an article compiling some useful resources [LINK] from CDC, the World Health Organization (WHO), and others. We are also using our Emerging Infections Network (EIN) to get input from members about their information needs.  
  2. Responding to media inquiries to help educate the public. Our staff compiles talking points daily to help our spokespeople respond to media. (If you are responding to media calls locally, our public relations firm, PCI, can make our talking points available to you. Contact Ashley Mattys at amattys@pcipr.com.) Our overall message is, “Stay calm. Be prepared.” We are doing what we can to help quell undue alarm. We have a group of media-trained leaders who have agreed to handle media calls, and we are responding to as many as we can. Our role is to support CDC, WHO, and other health authorities in their efforts to provide accurate, timely information, and to empower the public to take appropriate steps.
  3. Supporting CDC and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) in responding to the current outbreak and where appropriate suggesting ways to improve response and preparation for a possible next wave this fall. Many IDSA members are involved in efforts to keep CDC’s various guidance documents current as this situation unfolds.

IDSA has established a core response group appointed to coordinate our efforts, including members of the Pandemic Influenza Task Force, the Rapid Communications Work Group, the National and Global Public Health Committee, and others. The core response group is in regular contact with officials at CDC, WHO, and other authorities, and will be coming to other groups for input as needed.

At this time of crisis it is important that we speak with one voice to provide consistent, accurate, and reassuring information. The authorities, particularly CDC, are doing an admirable job at a challenging time. IDSA members can provide valuable leadership in their local communities as well. Others will turn to you for your expertise, and we will work to provide you with the best information available.
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