After preparing for Y2K, anthrax and hurricanes, HR and legal professionals must now turn their attention to pandemic planning.
Media attention and public interest are intense. As U.S. Health and Human Services’ Secretary Mike Leavitt observed recently, “We’re at a greater risk of pandemic than at any time in decades. We are overdue, and we’re under-prepared.”
Background on avian flu
Various types of pandemic flu could hit, but the strain of influenza at the heart of the planning is Avian Influenza A (or H5N1).
What’s the big deal? Avian flu is a type of flu, right? The “big deal” is that this flu is deadly. So far, there’s a 50 percent mortality rate and any pandemic is expected to overwhelm the health system, causing severe economic and social disruption.
The H5N1 strain of avian flu was first detected in southern China in 1997. Although the virus is carried in wild birds and poultry, it can be transmitted to hu...(register to read more)