Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Swine Flu Already Creating Financial Impact
The swine flu outbreak is taking on the appearance of the next pandemic that we at the Institute for Crisis Management have been warning organizations about for years. Here's the latest today from the Centers for Disease Control:
"The human swine flu outbreak continues to grow in the United States and internationally. Today, CDC reports additional cases of confirmed swine influenza and a number of hospitalizations of swine flu patients. Internationally, the situation is more serious too, with additional countries reporting confirmed cases of swine flu. In response to the intensifying outbreak, the World Health Organization raised the worldwide pandemic alert level to Phase 4."
It's not too late to develop a pandemic plan, but you'll need to act quickly. Even if this doesn't become the next pandemic, it's already having an economic impact. Travel industry stocks fell yesterday. Schools closed in New York, Texas, California, South Carolina, and Ohio. In areas of confirmed cases, people aren't going out to eat or going to theaters or attending sports events. In Mexico, where the virus originated, public gatherings have been limited. Here in Louisville, health officials are downplaying the risks of the flu because of a little horse race coming up on Saturday. It's too early in the week to determine if there might be any impact on the Kentucky Derby attendance.
If the flu continues to spread -- or even if the fear of flu continues to spread -- is your business prepared to handle the financial, human resources, and legal implications? If you are unsure, you have some work to do. Quickly!!!