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Swine Flu Outbreak - An Update

Contrary to any conspiracy theories or beliefs that there might be ulterior motives, the sudden onset and rapid spread of the A-H1N1 strain of Swine Flu is a local, national and global concern. Perhaps this will be one of the challenges faced by the new Administration. Clearly, preparedness and response are issues to be tested for the government, the general population and for business.

In the event of pandemic influenza, businesses will play a key role in protecting employees' health and safety as well as limiting the negative impact to the economy and society. Planning for pandemic influenza is critical. To assist you in your efforts, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have developed the following checklist for large businesses. It identifies important, specific activities large businesses can do now to prepare, many of which will also help you in other emergencies.

This check list is provided by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services to help businesses plan for continuity of activities in the event that employees are affected.

At this point, one of the biggest concerns is the unknown extent to which the spread of this flu variant could go, if it will continue or simply fade away (or come back in the fall). Still, the number of cases in the United States continues to rise, with people in California, New York, Texas, Kansas and Ohio all now confirmed cases. There are also reports of confirmed cases in Canada, Europe, Israel and New Zealand. Schools in affected areas of California, Texas and New York City have been closed as a precaution.

Still, despite the spread and the fact that the U.S. has recommended the postponement of non-essential travel by U.S. citizens to Mexico, the CDC is also saying that travel advisories by the EU was premature. Additionally, it should be emphasized that neither the CDC nor the WHO are even close to declaring this a pandemic.

Also see the CDC-Swine Flu Fact Sheet here.

Oddly, people who might seek to find "hidden agendas" and consider the attention being paid to the quick response to this outbreak as unnecessary, would probably be the same ones who would fault the government if nothing was done, and the spread of the virus went unchecked. This is another case of "you can't have it both ways."

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