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The potential economic impact of an influenza pandemic Regina SK

History dictates that the likelihood of an influenza pandemic impacting Canada is quite high - it is not a matter of "if," but a matter of when. It's ...

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The potential economic impact of an influenza pandemic

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(NC)-History dictates that the likelihood of an influenza pandemic impacting Canada is quite high - it is not a matter of "if," but a matter of when. It's been nearly 40 years since our world has seen a global influenza pandemic and in that time the world as we know it has changed so significantly, it becomes difficult to comprehend just how catastrophic an influenza pandemic might be.

With globalization, outsourcing and the search for greater efficiencies in business, our world is more interconnected than ever. Unfortunately, it's that connectivity that will enable the rapid global spread of an influenza pandemic.

Outbreaks will likely travel along transportation and distribution chains. Transportation hubs will be especially vulnerable and disruption at these hubs could have a permanent impact on both critical and service industries such as energy, utilities, telecommunications, financial institutions, retail, hospitality and real estate.

Some reports estimate a range of global economic losses between $2-3 trillion (assuming a moderate strain). An ultra pandemic (2.21 per cent mortality rate), resulting in more than 140 million deaths worldwide, could trigger an estimated global economic loss of $4.4 trillion.

Corporations need to review the economic and financial implications a pandemic could have on their business operations, including issues like absenteeism, supply chain disruptions, the drop or loss of key vendors, and the potential loss of customer demand. The severity of these consequences is directly linked to an organization's ability to recover from a potential pandemic and resume normal operations.

An arsenal of activities is needed to weather the impacts of a pandemic - planning, simulations, infection control equipment, technology, and stockpiling antiviral medications to help protect workers from becoming infected are all considerations for discussion. All of these items in tandem will enable companies to have a better chance of maintaining some semblance of "business as usual."

Credit: www.newscanada.com