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NACCHO Officials Available to Comment on Swine Flu Outbreak


Contact Becky Wexler or Chuck Alexander
Burness Communications
(301) 652-1558 or

NACCHO Officials Available to Comment on Swine Flu Outbreak

National and Local Experts Can Speak to Local Health Department Response

Washington, DC (April 27, 2009)—

As of this morning, 20 cases of swine influenza A (H1N1) virus have been confirmed in the United States by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Local health departments in New York City; San Diego and Imperial Counties in California; Guadalupe County, TX; Lorain County, OH; and Dickinson County, KS, are responding to existing outbreaks and taking measures to prevent further spread, while others are taking measures to detect new cases early and inform people how to stay safe. The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) can provide the media with expert commentary on the national outbreak and how local health departments are responding. NACCHO's members are leaders in health departments across the country, and many of them have been working around the clock to mount a response against the virus.

The Department of Health and Human Services has declared a national public health emergency in response to the swine flu outbreak, but local health departments, in some cases with their state and federal partners, are at the front lines of case investigation and response.  In addition to communicating with hospitals, physicians, and other healthcare workers to ensure that they are on alert for patients with influenza-like illness and advising them what to do when they come across suspicious cases, local health department officials also serve as a credible source of information for concerned community members, encouraging people to keep themselves and others healthy by following standard infection-control practices such as hand-washing and staying home when sick.

NACCHO Executive Director Robert M. Pestronk said, "As we are now observing, local health department officials are taking appropriate steps in response to the specific conditions in each of their communities. Planning, training, and countless outbreaks of other diseases since 2001 serve as preparation for this very complex situation." 

To speak to any of the experts below, or for help finding a health department spokesperson from your jurisdiction, please contact Becky Wexler at (301) 652-1558.

  • Robert Pestronk, MPH, Executive Director, National Association of County and City Health Officials
  • Terry Allan, Health Commissioner, Cuyahoga County (OH) Board of Health
  • Karen Smith, MPH, MD, MPH Public Health Officer, Napa County, CA
  • Michael Caldwell, MD, MPH Commissioner, Dutchess County (NY) Department of Health
  • Ken Pearce, MPH, Health Commissioner, Lorain County General Health District (OH)

NACCHO is the national organization representing the nation's nearly 3,000 local health departments. These agencies work every day on the front lines to protect and promote the health of their communities. NACCHO develops resources and programs and promotes national policies that support effective local public health practice.