Companies prepare for bird flu pandemic
| 02.07.2007 | 09:42:22 | Views: 3553 | ID:
February 7 '07: Small and large corporations and businesses around the U.S. are planning on ways to make sure if an influenza pandemic were to strike, operations would be able to continue, Reuters reported. To help businesses plan for pandemic response and preparedness, the U.S. Department of Occupational Health and Safety Administration released a series of guidelines designed to maintain such vital business operations as food supply distribution and electricity production.
Reuters reported, "Jay Schwartz, vice president of information systems at North Carolina-based Alex Lee Inc., is worried about what will happen when food supplies begin to get scarce as people become ill, stay home to care for children when schools close or tend to ill relatives." Schwartz said, "Security is a huge issue. ... Maybe we'll have someone riding shotgun for added security," in trucks carrying food supplies.Other large companies, such as Exxon Mobile, have asked some critical employees to live in certain facilities so that they can maintain operations if a pandemic were to strike. Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a series of findings on effective methods for pandemic mitigation and preparedness that were compiled with the help of the University of Michigan after the two groups studied more than 44 "communities" that were relatively unscathed by the 1918 Spanish Influenza pandemic that killed tens of millions of people worldwide. The findings concluded that some of the most effective methods for spread mitigation included sequestering communities such as small neighborhoods, schools and towns while keeping borders between states and towns open so that vital food and medical supplies could be transported. Despite all the best efforts, however, experts say that any effort to mitigate a pandemic will only slow the spread not stop the spread of the disease. Mitigation and preparedness efforts, therefore, are only put into place to allow federal, state and local officials to develop, deliver and administer the flu vaccines.
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