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Cablegate: Russian Outbreak Communication Strategies in Country Avian

VZCZCXRO3507
PP RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDBU RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA
RUEHLN RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHMO #1677/01 1030322
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 130322Z APR 07
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9203
RUEHRC/USDA FAS WASHDC 4723
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEHTA/AMEMBASSY ASTANA 0093
RUEHBK/AMEMBASSY BANGKOK 0777
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 4219
RUEHHI/AMEMBASSY HANOI 1510
RUEHPF/AMEMBASSY PHNOM PENH 0394
RUEHUM/AMEMBASSY ULAANBAATAR 0265
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC
RUEHPH/CDC ATLANTA GA
RUEAUSA/DEPT OF HHS WASHDC
RHEFAFM/DIRAFMIC FT DETRICK MD//MA-1//
RHMFIUU/DTRA ALEX WASHINGTON DC//CT//
RHEFSNG/HMSNG WASHINGTON DC
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MOSCOW 001677

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR G/AIG
STATE ALSO FOR EUR/RUS, EB/TPP/ATP, EB/TPP/BTA, OES/STC
USDA FOR OSEC/DAN CAINE, FAS FOR OSTA/MACKE,
- WRIGHT, LEIER, ROSENBLUM; OCRA/THOMAS,
- FLEMINGS; OA/PATRICK CLERKIN
HHS FOR SAWYER, STEIGER
FAS PASS FSIS AND APHIS
SECDEF FOR OSD
VIENNA PASS APHIS/TANAKA, BRUSSELS PASS
- APHIS/FERNANDEZ
USDOC 3150/DAVID FULTON/MOLLY COSTA/ITA/CS/OIO/EUR
GENEVA PASS HEALTH ATTACHE
DEPARTMENT PASS USAID FOR GH/RCS/EE/ROSENBERG
CDC ATLANTA PASS SEPRL FOR DAVID SUAREZ

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: TBIO KFLU KSTH KPAO SENV RS
SUBJECT: RUSSIAN OUTBREAK COMMUNICATION STRATEGIES IN COUNTRY AVIAN
INFLUENZA PLAN

REFS: A. STATE 46669

B. MOSCOW 1318
C. 06 MOSCOW 8690
D. MOSCOW 778
E. MOSCOW 711
F. MOSCOW 776
G. MOSCOW 713
H. MOSOCW 710
I. MOSCOW 709
J. 05 MOSCOW 13418

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED. PLEASE PROTECT ACCORDINGLY.

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: Per Ref A request, Russia has not yet adopted a
communications strategy for avian and pandemic influenza that
complies with WHO best practices for outbreak communication to the
public. END SUMMARY.

2. (SBU) Russia has yet to adopt a comprehensive Avian Influenza
(AI) and Pandemic Preparedness Plan (Ref B) which links regional
plans to an overall federal plan. The GOR also has not yet adopted
a systematic outbreak communication strategy. Communications with
the media and public do not at present comply with the WHO
guidelines on best practices for outbreak communications in terms of
advanced planning and coordination. Ad hoc public outreach measures
have included press coverage reporting on the AI situation, the
migration patterns of wild birds, and Russia's success in producing
a human vaccine. AI posters were distributed to health authorities
and appear in some health centers. The Russian Red Cross in Siberia
has trained its volunteers in AI prevention measures. It is seeking
funding to expand this program. UNICEF is launching an information
campaign to protect children in Dagestan.

3. (SBU) A draft AI national preparedness plan has been submitted to
WHO for review, but needs further refinement and better linkage and
coordination of oblast (regional) plans with a national plan (Ref
B). The draft contains a brief section on communications with the
public and media. That section notes the role of mass media in
accurately informing the public about pandemics both country-wide
and in affected regions. The media should also play a role in
educating the public about clinical symptoms and individual
protective measures to help avoid infection. Hotlines on treatment
and prevention measures should be established in the event of a
pandemic. The draft section also discusses in general terms the
development of information outreach and education programs. An
action plan adopted in 2006 (Ref C) did not mention the issue of
communicating with the public and does not allocate any funding to
such an effort.

4. (SBU) During some recent AI outbreaks among birds, government
statements to the media sometimes appear to have been ad hoc and
were not always coordinated among officials representing different
federal ministries and agencies, and among regional officials (Refs
D-I). In some cases, federal health officials have announced an AI
outbreak before lab results confirmed the presence of AI (Ref I).
Oblast officials and certain elected federal officials have
periodically made irresponsible statements on the origin of

MOSCOW 00001677 002 OF 002


outbreaks and sought to link them to selfish actions by foreign
governments (Ref J, among others).

5. (SBU) The public is generally informed within 24-48 hours after a
suspected outbreak by government officials from the Ministries of
Agriculture or Emergency Situations, or from the Federal
Surveillance Service for Consumer Rights and Human Well-Being
(Rospotrebnadzor), which is under the jurisdiction of the Ministry
of Health and Social Development. The Ministries of Agriculture and
of Emergency Situations have also made recent statements to the
public warning of the possibility of future AI outbreaks.

BURNS

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