Monday, August 10, 2009

It's Time to Get Ready for the Real Pandemic

The World Health Organization (WHO) says the H1N1 pandemic flu has spread to 168 countries and they have confirmed 168,000 human cases and 1,154 deaths, including 436 deaths in the United States.

However, WHO officials say most people, in most parts of the world do not get tested and they estimate millions are, or have been infected.

In the United States the virus has caused more than 80 outbreaks in camps in more than 40 states this summer and officials estimate more than 1 million Americans have already been infected.

According to Marc Lipsitch, a professor of epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health, "It's fair to say there will be tens of millions of illnesses and hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations, and tens of thousands of deaths. That's not atypical."

The greatest threat is to young people in their 20s, 30s and even early 40s. Research on the 1918 pandemic discovered that disproportionately more young people died than is the case in a normal fall flu outbreak. Researchers determined that people in that age range have their immune system at its lifetime peak. When the flu settled into their lungs their immune system went into high gear -- more aggressive than normal -- and the immune system could not tell the difference between flu cells and healthy cells and in many cases doctors say, immune systems did even more damage than the flu.

I don't want to sound like a broken record, but there is still time to address some of the key business issues before the pandemic gets worse.

To read more about what needs to be done for businesses, not-for-profits, higher education and healthcare services, go to:

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