White House Reveals Plan to Handle Potential Bird Flu Pandemic
The Bush Administration last week released an implementation plan to support its national strategy for pandemic influenza. The 234-page document outlines more than 300 critical actions the government already has initiated or plans to take to prepare for, detect and respond to a potential avian flu pandemic.
In the plan, the government urges all U.S. companies to develop their own programs for continuing to provide goods and services while handling anticipated disruptions during an actual pandemic. It includes several key points for businesses to consider in the planning process, such as essential functions, delegation of authority, effective communications, critical records, training exercises and ways to protect personnel during a pandemic.
According to the new document, businesses should begin planning with the assumption that up to 40% of their staff members may be absent for periods of about two weeks during the peak of the outbreak. Limiting social contact and applying distancing measures are just two of the approaches employers can take in an effort to reduce the risk or spread of infection among employees, the plan explains.
IDFA has reviewed the document and identified Chapter 9, "Institutions: Protecting Personnel and Ensuring Continuity of Operations," as an important section for members. To read this section, click here.
"This is the material that is relevant for private sector businesses, and will help you as you develop your company plan," said Clay Detlefsen, IDFA vice president of regulatory affairs and counsel.
IDFA's website is another good source of important information related to a possible avian flu outbreak, including an IDFA white paper and several links that offer guidance for businesses.
President Bush has directed all federal agencies to establish and use a single, comprehensive website, www.pandemicflu.gov, as the official federal source of pandemic and avian flu information.
To view the full White House implementation plan, click here.
News Update has covered avian flu and preparedness in past issues. To read "Government Agencies Discuss U.S. Readiness for Avian Flu," click here.To read IDFA's white paper, "Issues for Consideration Regarding Preparing for an 'Avian Flu' Outbreak," click here.