Resources on Swine Flu Recommended by Brethren Disaster Ministries

Church of the Brethren Newsline
April 28, 2009

The following information about the swine flu has been offered by Brethren Disaster Ministries as a resource to help Brethren congregations and members better understand the flu outbreak and ways to respond. The information has been provided by Church World Service (CWS) offering links to information posted online by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and a resource below provided by Lutheran Disaster Relief. Contact Brethren Disaster Ministries at 410-635-8747 or go to for more about the disaster relief work of the Church of the Brethren.

Provided through Church World Service

The following resources are relevant to the latest strain of influenza type A H1N1 virus, commonly known as Swine Flu. The virus has killed 149 people in Mexico, prompting governments around the world to tighten border controls and the World Health Organization to raise its pandemic alert level.

Church World Service staff continue to monitor the spread of Swine Flu. CWS Emergency Response personnel are engaged in regular briefings by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the event the disaster response community would need to become further involved.

Additionally, CWS is providing denominational and faith-based partners with resources for how to prevent the spread of the infection and what churches can do in their communities should an outbreak occur.

Recources from the CDC follow below. More specific information on how the faith community might respond is included. Note the document includes references to avian flu. However, nearly all of the same principals apply to the current Swine Flu situation.

CDC Quick Reference Guide for Public Information on Infection Control

General Swine Flu Information:

“Swine Flu Key Facts” —
Provides facts about Swine Influenza

“Swine Flu and You” —
Provides answers to questions about Swine Influenza

“Swine Flu Video Podcast” —
In this video, Dr. Joe Bresee, with the CDC Influenza Division, describes swine flu–its signs and symptoms, how it’s transmitted, medicines to treat it, steps people can take to protect themselves from it, and what people should do if they become ill.

“All You Have to Do Is Wash Your Hands Podcast” —
This podcast teaches children how and when to wash their hands properly

Swine flu RSS feed —
Receive automatic updates on Swine Flu from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention right on your desktop or browser.

“INFLUENZA: Pigs, People, and Public Health” —
A Public Health Fact Sheet from the National Pork Board

Flu Information for Children, Parents, and Child Care Providers:

“The Flu: A Guide for Parents” —
A downloadable resource offering questions and answers about the flu, how to protect your child, treatment, and more.

“Preventing the Spread of Influenza (the Flu) in Child Care Settings: Guidance for Administrators, Care Providers, and Other Staff —
Flu recommendations for schools and child care providers.

“Questions and Answers: Information for Schools” —
Printable version of answers to questions commonly asked by school administrators, teachers, staff, and parents.

“Protecting Against the Flu: Advice for Caregivers of Children Less Than 6 Months Old” —
Research has shown that children less than 5 years of age are at high risk of serious flu-related complications.

“Stopping Germs at Home, Work, and School” —
A fact sheet.

“Ounce of Prevention” Campaign —
Tips and streaming video for parents and children about the steps and benefits of effective hand washing.

Prevention Methods:

“Clean Hands Saves Lives” —
Keeping hands clean is one of the most important steps we can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others.

“Hand Washing to Reduce Disease” —
Recommendations to reduce disease transmission from animals in public settings.

“BAM! Body and Mind: Teacher’s Corner” —
In this activity, students conduct an experiment on washing their hands. They will learn that “clean” hands may not be so clean after all, and the critical importance of washing their hands as a way to prevent the spread of disease.

“Cover Your Cough” Posters —
Stop the spread of germs that make you and others sick! Printable formats of “Cover Your Cough” posters are available as PDF files.

“Stopping the Spread of Germs” —
Healthy habits at home, work, and school. The site offers printable materials, flyers, and posters, including the Cover Your Cough poster and a Germ Stopper poster.

“CDC Be a Germ Stopper” —
Downloadable posters and materials for community and public settings like schools and child care facilities.

“Cough Etiquette in Health Care Settings” —
Tips to prevent the spread of germs from coughing, and information about Personal Protective Equipment demonstrating the sequences for donning, etc.

“Workplace Planning” —
Resources for organizations and businesses to plan for the event of an epidemic. The site offers ideas for how to continue operation in a crisis, continuing communications and services, disinfecting workplaces, etc.

“Seasonal Flu Information for Workplaces and Employees” —
Advice and resources for workplaces and employees.

School Materials and Posters:

“Germ Stopper” Materials —
“Be a Germ Stopper” offers a variety of resources, posters, screensavers, etc. offering simple reminders for good hygiene for use in classrooms, cafeterias, or laminated for bathrooms.

“It’s a SNAP” Toolkit —
Program materials to help prevent school absenteeism; activities for school administrators, teachers, students, and others to help stop the spread of germs in schools. Go to to see the handcleaning section of the “It’s a SNAP” site.

“Scrub Club” —
Kids can learn about health and hygiene and become members of the Scrub Club(tm). The site features a fun and educational animated Webisode with seven “soaper-heros” who battle nasty villains representing germs and bacteria. Kids learn the six key steps to proper handwashing, a handwashing song, and interactive games. Also included are activities for kids, and educational materials for teachers.

For further information about disasters to which Church World Service is responding please visit or call the CWS Hotline, 800-297-1516.

Provided by Lutheran Disaster Relief

This is a good time for congregations to think about how to minister in the face of situations that might arise out of any pandemic, like suggested or mandated social distancing. If the impact of swine flu progresses:

Limit exposure.
— Consider how communion is administered, think about how to minimize person-to-person contact.
— Sharing the peace…consider “sharing the Purell” as well.
— Limit potlucks and other nonessential large gatherings.
— Give permission to not shake hands.

Creative ways to worship.
— Make use of Eucharistic ministers (deacons) to do more small group visits and communion.
— Hold worship online…include a worship outline, sermon, music, maybe use PowerPoint.

To think about now.
— Make best use of your website.
— Think about ways to hold conference calls for meetings.
— Pull out your congregational calling list and test your e-mail distribution list.
— Research blogging and other means of online communicating.

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