Friday, April 24, 2009

I Ask Again, Are You Ready for a Flu Pandemic?

A little over a week ago (see April 14 post) I asked if your company or organization was ready for a flu pandemic. As has been the case for the past couple of years, most folks ignored the question.

You are putting your business, non-profit, healthcare facility, university or other type of organization at great peril by ignoring that question.

The latest red-flag appeared yesterday (April 23, 2009) when NBC reported at least 60 people have died in Mexico from a deadly strain of swine flu, and at least seven people in California have been diagnosed with that same strain.

Let me remind you -- every 30-to-40 years the world is hit with a pandemic that sickens and kills people across the United States and in every other corner of the globe. These pandemic outbreaks have been recorded two and three times a century since at least the 1500s.

The last three were in 1918, 1957 and 1968. 70,000 Americans died in 1957 and only about 35,000 died in the U.S. in 1968. But in 1918, half-a-million Americans died in a six-month period, and an estimated 50-million more died around the world.

The first documented U.S. deaths were two brothers from a Kansas farm family, drafted into basic training for World War I and both died of swine flu.

In addition to all the health-safety issues you need to be considering, there are "business" issues that demand your attention NOW, before the next pandemic strikes.

I talked about those in the earlier post. Not the least of those plans is a communication plan that should already be in place and reassuring employees, vendors, customers and investors that you are preparing your organization and will not only get through the next pandemic, but recover quickly and effectively.

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