NAB Offers Help Educating Public About Swine Flu

Organization reached out to the Department of Health and Human Services

Look for broadcasters to pitch in to help spread the word about the swine flu virus and what the public needs to know, like frequent hand-washing and limiting travel for anyone with flu-like symptoms.

According to National Association of Broadcasters spokesman Dennis Wharton, NAB reached out to the Department of Health and Human Services Monday to offer assistance in educating the public about swine flu. Over 100 people have died in Mexico and there are reports of the flu that have surfaced in five states: New York, Texas, California, Ohio, and Kansas.

"We got a response back [from HHS] saying they should have some material for us shortly," said Wharton.

"We view the public as partners in the efforts to try and control what's going on," Dr. Richard Besser acting director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, at a press conference Sunday.

The White House Sunday pledged a "very active, progressive and coordinated response" to the outbreak, with John Brennan, assistant secretary to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism saying the administration's "top priority" is to "to communicate information quickly and clearly" to the public so the country can quickly identify and respond to any new cases.

The White House was not itself the beneficiary of communications about the disease, at least from the Mexican government.

President Barack Obama visited Mexico two weeks ago, but did not know about the swine flu problem at the time, according to the White House. In a briefing Monday, a White House spokesman said that Mexican officials did not notify the White House Medical Unit staff when they asked questions regarding concerns about infectious diseases. "[They] were informed there were none."