Mexican Swine Flu outbreak creates international concern

Mexican officials and international experts are studying an outbreak of of Swine Influenza that has emerged in Mexico and which is suspected of killing up to 60 in the past month.

International Experts for the World Health Organisation and the US Centre for Disease Control are suggesting the outbreak in Mexico may be connected to a further 8 cases in the USA. It is suspected the virus may also have infect over 900 and the Mexican government has already moved closing public buildings and suspending public events to try and limit the spread of infection.

WHO backs investigation into Bird Flu situation in Egypt

Following an increase in infection rates and what appears to be a change in the pattern in Egypt the World Health Organisation is backing more detailed investigation

In Egypt the World Health Organisation is backing further examination and investigation as the numbers contracting the disease rise and and the pattern of infection change. At first sight the changes appear to be good news with all of those infected in the country have survived pointing to a reduction in the virulence of the H5N1, but clinically this change could be bad news.

Guidelines for GP's from RCGP and BMA

The document sets out guidelines for business continuity planning within a General Practioners practice.

The document sets out guidelines for business continuity planning within a General Practioners practice.


New Pandemic guidance for Doctors announced

The guidance says sensible preparation now will make the difference between just ‘getting through’ a pandemic and maximising the number of lives that can be saved. There were three pandemics in the last century which caused public health emergencies and many experts believe another one is overdue.

It is, however, impossible to predict its timing. The BMA/RCGP guidance is intended as a practical guide for GPs and practice managers. It details how GP surgeries will be expected to adapt from their usual method of working and gives information and guidance on the following:


Business ignoring pandemic risk ... planning apathy highlighted in latest study

All organisations in the public and private should have created plans to curb the effects and mitigate the impact of the disruption caused by a Pandemic yet our study shows 73% do not have proper plans to protect the business or its employees.

This stark finding comes after the National Risk Register produced by the Cabinet Office highlighted the threat of a pandemic as the most serious threat to the UK.

Economic Consequences of a Pandemic .....

Active analysis can be subdivided into three categories of possible threats/occurrences that could befall an organization. Dr. Ian Mitroff refers to the three categories as Natural Accidents, Normal Accidents and Abnormal Accidents. I have renamed them and to differentiate the three aspects of each. That is, the threat, the actual occurrence and the consequence of the occurrence.

Economic Consequences of a Pandemic

At the time of this writing H5N1, known as Avian Flu, is spreading throughout Asia with one of the highest mortality rates of any flu virus of the previous century. Even the Influenza (Spanish Flu) of 1918 did not have as high a morbidity and mortality rate as H5N1 (Avian Flu). We are seeing almost daily some revelation from the World Health Organization (WHO) or Centers for Disease Control (CDC) or the popular media.

IT managers need to think about the effects of Avian Flu too!

Gartner has warned IT managers to update their business continuity plans in light of a possible outbreak of bird flu.

The analyst firm's report, Key Steps to Prepare for a Possible Avian Influenza Pandemic, stated that IT managers should make plans to keep the business running in the event of an outbreak.

Business starts Planning for Avian Flu effects

The most obvious commercial victim of bird flu - imagined or real - is the multi-million pound poultry industry, which includes egg producers and broiler breeders, as well as those bringing the poultry to market; ranging from supermarkets to restaurants.

For the moment, this sector's most immediate concern is that talk of a possible pandemic will spook consumers.

Avian Flu - NHS issues updated advice amidst rising concern

World Health Organisation and NHS officials have reviewed the current guidance and produced a simplified guide to the issues and the potential effects.

Government responds to independent enquiry into quarantine system

Recommendations put forward following an independent review of the UK's avian quarantine system were today largely accepted.

An independent review of the UK's avian quarantine system by a team chaired by Nigel Dimmock, emeritus professor of virology at Warwick University last October, put forward 32 recommendations of which 29 have been accepted or accepted in principle. Two require further consideration and one has been rejected (see point 4 in “Notes to Editors for further details).

Ben Bradshaw, minister for animal health and welfare, said: “Professor Dimmock's report was thorough and wide-ranging. It provided us with a challenge, we have now reviewed our procedures and we have presented a response which we think is workable and proportionate.  “I'm sure tightening the system where it is required will reassure the public that our quarantine system would be able to work effectively if imports resume.

Professor Dimmock's review considered, among other aspects, the authorisation of premises for holding birds in quarantine and transit, procedures on importation of birds, the operation of quarantine premises including biosecurity measures and relevant domestic and European legislation.

Based on Professor Dimmock's recommendations, Defra will now:-

-Set up closer veterinary supervision and audit of quarantine by the State Veterinary Service (SVS)

- Create a central SVS IT system of key data linked to quarantine

- Revise guidance for the structure and equipment of quarantine facilities

- Introduce management plans for quarantine operators - Write a bird welfare code for importers and quarantine operators

- Enhance laboratory testing of quarantined birds

The government response is available from the Defra website.

If you would like to know more about how your organisation can get involved and benefit from working with the Continuity Forum, please email us HERE! or call on + 44 (0) 208 993 1599.

Shaking off the flu

October 27 2005

Business leaders, like everyone else, are being bombarded with news about the risk of a human bird flu pandemic. Executives should consider now what, if anything, they need to do to prepare against this threat.

Decisions must be based on a sober evaluation of the risks. According to most experts, the probability of a human pandemic this winter is small. So there is no cause for panic.

However, many experts think such a pandemic is likely to occur one day. If it does, it could have disastrous consequences. It therefore makes sense to draw up contingency plans to deal with the worst-case scenario. These should be based on two key objectives: to take care of staff and to minimise disruption to the business and its revenues.

Government extends CCA responsibility to Strategic Health Authorities

 The Act splits local responders into two categories, imposing a different set of duties on each. Category 1 responders are those organisations at the core of emergency response (e.g. emergency services, local authorities, Primary Care Trusts), and are subject to the full range of civil protection duties.

UK Health Departments reveal Pandemic Plan part2

Department of Health influenza pandemic business continuity planning assumptions

Based on previous pandemics and current internationally agreed arrangements co-ordinated by the WHO, UK Health Departments have agreed the following planning assumptions (further details in Chapter 4 of main Plan):

UK Health Departments reveal Pandemic Plan

UK public health experts have unveiled their plans to deal with an Avian Flu Pandemic in the face of rising concern over this serious health threat in Asia.

The Government has also announced the purchase of over a million doses of vaccine, which to be used primarily for Key Workers. These steps coincide with increased reports and concern from the World Health Organisation concerning Avian Flu.

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