Sunday, August 06, 2006

Preparing For Influenza Pandemic: It's Not If, But When

If it happens, it will overshadow other safety issues ...

"If your company is not already preparing for influenza pandemic, you need to begin now. A good place to start is your local health department. Here's how to do it – and why it's so important.

Influenza pandemics are like hurricanes: they happen. Although no one can predict with any certainty when the next one will strike, most experts believe we are overdo.

All agree that sooner or later an influenza pandemic is going to break out, with the potential for devastating consequences on the world economy – and your company. The influenza pandemic of 1918 not only killed millions of people, it caused innumerable bankruptcies.

At a recent ORC Worldwide meeting, Julie Gerberding, M.D., director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), told our members why business planning for a pandemic is so important.

We could be close to an outbreak of avian flu, and a pandemic is certain to happen at some point in the future, Gerberding noted. "We've never been as close to a pandemic in my lifetime," Gerberding said.

She predicted a pandemic would kill 2 million Americans and place three-quarters of a million people on intensive care respirators, overwhelming the nation's health care capacity while causing enormous disruptions to the world economy.

Companies and communities must plan to be "self-contained" and not expect much help from the federal government, according to Gerberding. "In this planning scenario, we are operating under the assumption that local planning has to be where the action is," she asserted."   (Continued via Occupational Hazards)            [Ergonomics Resources]

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