Influenza pandemic? Ask your employer if you are protected Iqaluit NU
Cambridge Bay, NU
Influenza pandemic? Ask your employer if you are protected
(NC)-In Canada alone, it is estimated up to 10 million Canadians could fall ill during an influenza pandemic. Many Canadians working in the corporate sector assume government will provide them with the preventative tools needed to protect against infection during a pandemic to ensure businesses - and the country - run as usual.
Yet the current Canadian pandemic plan does not include preventative measures designed to protect Canada's workforce from illness. For example, Canada's stockpile of antiviral medications (anti-influenza drugs) is designed to treat approximately 17 per cent of the population should they become ill. There has not been a stockpile of antivirals created and devoted to preventing the illness from spreading among Canadians. Much is left to each individual organization to ensure they are prepared to mitigate the threat of an influenza pandemic.
Companies need to take into account the global interdependencies of today's economy. A pandemic outbreak in Mumbai could easily have effects in Minneapolis and Montreal. In other words, the corporate community needs to take action and put preventative measures of their own in place. If it does not, companies may find a pandemic will have a significant impact on the absenteeism of their workers, causing serious financial implications due to disruption of operations and supply chains, vulnerability of key vendors, and loss of customer demand.
The chance of an influenza pandemic impacting Canada is not a matter of "if," but a matter of when. Influenza pandemics generally occur every 30 - 40 years - and it's been almost 40 years since the last one. No matter how far we've come in medicine and technology, no one can predict when a pandemic might occur or what the strain may be. But, experts are watching a variety of emerging respiratory viruses - including H5N1 - very closely.