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I. Rationale and Goals

Supplement G: Communication and Education

Public Health Guidance for Community-Level Preparedness and Response to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) Version 2/3

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During the 2003 SARS response, health communications figured prominently among the tools used to contain the outbreak. The response to outbreaks and the threat of outbreaks necessitated extensive communications activities. Experience showed that, although a media/communications plan cannot alleviate the threat of SARS-CoV or solve associated public health problems, good communication can guide the public, the media, and healthcare providers in responding appropriately and complying with exposure-control measures as required.

This document describes the communication plans and activities that are suggested to prepare for a possible reappearance of SARS-CoV and activities that would be needed to respond to a SARS outbreak. This plan identifies information necessary for major planning, preparedness, and communication response activities of state and local health departments and provides guidance for coordinating efforts with CDC and other entities. The goals of this Supplement are to provide local and state communications specialists with suggestions and guidance to:

  • Instill and maintain public confidence in the nation's public health system and its ability to respond to and manage a SARS outbreak
  • Contribute to the maintenance of order, minimization of public panic and fear, and facilitation of public protection through the provision of accurate, rapid, and complete information
  • Provide accurate, consistent, and comprehensive information about SARS-CoV disease
  • Address rumors, inaccuracies, and misperceptions as quickly as possible, and prevent stigmatization of affected groups
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