The Integrity News
"objective risk management news"
Vol. XIV No. 9
November 29, 2005
November 28, 2005 ( pgs. 36-39 )
"No one can predict the timing or severity of the next
flu pandemic, but governments around the world are
taking seriously whatever lies ahead. The last three
epidemics, in 1918, 1957, and 1968 killed 40 million,
2 million, and 1 million people respectively."
The World Health Organization (WHO) has studied
the health and economic results of the 2003 outbreak
of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). "If
the Bird Flu should mutate from birds to humans,
WHO predicts an unthinkable loss of life, perhaps in
the millions." "The Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
worst-case scenario sees millions infected and hundreds
of thousands of deaths in the U.S."
There is suddenly so much media coverage of this
topic that the best way to convey the urgency about
beginning to plan your corporate response is to list
the key quotes in bullet form ...................
"The damage caused by SARS should serve as a harbinger
of the kind of damage Bird Flu could cause: Of the 8,000
people infected with SARS, some 775 died in Toronto, Hong
Kong, Singapore, and China.
And so far, the number of
human deaths from Bird Flu is a GREATER proportion of
the infected people than those who died from SARS."
"Sometime, somewhere, the seeds of a potential global
pandemic will be sown. In Indonesia, China, Thailand,
or any other country where the intimate mingling of
people, poultry, and pathogens creates a cauldron of viral
evolution, a bird flu bug will mutate so that it can be
transmitted from person to person."
"The threat of a global pandemic is beginning to creep
into executive suites. It's a giant leap from a year ago,
when it was not even on the business community's radar
"A pandemic will bring at least two economic shock waves.
The first, possibly the larger of the two, will be driven
by fearful anticipation, and will precede the actual arrival
of the disease. The second will be the actual spread of the
"72% of multinational companies have yet to begin to prepare."
"Experts say that most companies don't yet realize how
serious the economic effects of a pandemic would be."
"During SARS, for example, weakening demand led to an
increase in unemployment and a rise in bankruptcy levels
for small and medium-sized enterprises."
"An informal BusinessWeek poll of a half-dozen major
utilities showed that none has a specific plan to keep the
power flowing during a flu pandemic."
"At the end of the day, the pandemic threat is not just a
threat to health, but to the stability of the social fabric."
"Could you run your facility with 30% to 40% of your
employees not at work ? Do you have the infrastructure
that you need ?"
"Companies are counting on the Federal Govt. to fund the
production of vaccines and drugs. But, while Washington
debates the strategies, there is a consensus emerging on
best practices ........."
> "Find backups for suppliers and essential work functions."
> "Cross-train employees."
> "Keep people apart to limit the disease's spread."
> "Firm up your IT infrastructure for telecommuting."
> "Don't let employees come to work if they are sick."
> "Assure employees that they will be paid if sequestered."
> "Provide accurate and credible facts to all employees."
> "Make plans to pull people out of countries where
an epidemic strikes first, while ensuring that
crucial jobs are covered."
> "Identify your company's irreplaceable functions
and figure out how to keep them going with 25%
to 40% of staff coping with the illness."
> "Consider building up inventories in case foreign or
domestic suppliers and transport services are
> "Prepare for breakdowns in Government services
such as sanitation, water, and power."
> "Try to limit the flu's spread in the workplace by
improving air circulation and filtration. Stock up
on masks and sanitizers, and consider staggering
work hours to limit the size of gatherings."
> "Give employees the equipment and support they
need to telecommute if their jobs permit."
> "Make sure your sick leave and pay policies don't
discourage workers from staying home when they
> "Let your employees know what you're doing ---
and what they should do --- to limit the impact of
"Businesses that depend on large numbers of people
congregating --- such as airlines, lodging, leisure, and
restaurants --- would suffer serious setbacks. So would
poultry producers and some insurers --- and hospitals
would be strained to their limits."
"A human version of the Bird Flu would very quickly have
people staying home in front of their wide-screen TVs
instead of going out to eat or for entertainment.
Telecommuting would increase exponentially."
"One of the most vulnerable populations to a pandemic today
would be health-care workers who are already in short supply.
The loss of life and work-time to illness would be profound.
The health-care system would be very poorly positioned to
deal with so many really sick people --- both employees and
"While the number of human cases is still quite small,
there is currently great fear amongst public health
professionals that it could spread. If the virus spreads
to a few sites at once, creating multiple 'hot spots',
there is a real fear that it could easily turn into a
pandemic, hitting virtually every country in the world,
given the realities of air travel."
"Hurricane Katrina already taught the U.S. the perils of
The Integrity Center, Inc. is making every effort to
stay abreast of the latest information on Avian Flu
and its potential impact. We are also staying abreast
of information available about any terrorist threats to
use "dirty" explosives in the U.S. -- those that could
spread radioactivity, smallpox, or other biological
agents. We are happy to share any information we
have with you. We want any impact on the public
and on the economy to be as controlled as possible.
Feel free to call
The Integrity Center, Inc.
at (972) 484-6140.
Helping you with your Risk Management and HR Automation is what we do.