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Swine flu preparations:
don't panic but be cautious

Here's some advice for avoiding the flu - or dealing with it

New York, April 28, 2009 -- As deaths attributed to the swine flu outbreak in Mexico passed 150, the message of the World Health Organization straddled a cautious line between reassurance and warning.

True, there is a potential that the contagious disease could become a pandemic, WHO statements said, but no scientist can predict what will happen next. The nature of influenza viruses is that they are unpredictable.

In the U.S., the secretary of Homeland Security and the acting head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said they expected additional reports of swine flu around the country but offered assurances that the government was prepared to respond.

That leaves most Americans in the uncomfortable position of hoping for the best but wondering how to prepare for the worst.

Some helpful links:

National Council of Churches
Health Task Force

Church World Service Hotline

Presbyterian Church (USA)
Health Ministries

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Pandemic Preparation

Pandemic Planning for
Episcopal Parishes

HHS: Faith Based Organizations
and Pandemic Preparedness

Center for Disease Control
Swine Flu Influenza

World Health Organization
Swine Flu Influenza

Health Protection Agency Update

Health Protection Surveillance Center


CDC - Preventing the Flu

"The member communions of the National Council of Churches are naturally concerned," said the Rev. Dr. Michael Kinnamon, NCC General Secretary.

"I think we all agree that this is a time for caution, not panic. This is a good time for individuals to learn as much as they can about how to protect themselves from a contagious illness, and how to protect their families and communities."

Churches, government agencies and health professionals are issuing numerous advisories about the swine flu outbreak.

"It may be a bit daunting to sort through all the statements that are being made," Kinnamon said. "We've gathered together some links we hope will be helpful." (See box at left)

"In the meantime, it's always appropriate to pray for God's healing, for God's protection, and for the wisdom to take the most effective steps to protect our families and communities."

NCC News contact:  Philip E. Jenks, 212-870-2228 (office), 646-853-4212 (cell) ,

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