1. Seale, Holly PhD, MPH, BSc
  2. McLaws, Mary-Louise PhD, MPH, DipTropPH
  3. Van, Debbie
  4. Crimmins, Jacinta MBBS, BMedSci, MScTech, Occ Med, FRACGP
  5. MacIntyre, C. Raina MBBS, MAppEpid, PhD, FRACP, FAFPHM


Objectives: In April 2009, the World Health Organization announced the emergence of a novel influenza A H1N1 virus. Through the use of an on-line survey, we aimed to measure the awareness and receptiveness of staff and students toward university information broadcasts about the H1N1 situation.


Design/Setting: The survey was available online from June 29 to September 30, 2009. The sample included faculty, general staff, and students at a university in Sydney, Australia.


Results: A total of 2 883 surveys were completed. The majority (88.4%, 2549/2883) reported seeing an information broadcast. Significantly more general staff reported receiving an e-mail than faculty or students. Of the students who reported receiving it, only 53.6% (1006/1876) found it useful. All 3 participant categories nominated e-mails as the most appropriate way the university could use for communicating health issues.


Conclusions: Communicating effectively to staff and students about the spread of flu on campus presents a challenge, as university officials seek to navigate a middle ground between inciting unnecessary fear and promoting complacency. Electronic communication may be the most efficient way of reaching as many staff and students as possible.