Thursday, April 19, 2007

Controlling pandemic flu in 1918 and business continuity in public services now

I am a bit doubtful about the preparedness of much of the public sector and not-for-profit sector for a pandemic flu outbreak - as I've already mentioned on this blog.

Recent American research on the 1918 pandemic (which killed more people than world war one) has considered how different cities responded. Using mathematical models, they reported that large differences in death rates could be explained by the prevention measures, particularly their timing. Cities that instituted quarantine, school closings, bans on public gatherings and other such procedures early in the epidemic had peak death rates 30 percent to 50 percent lower than those that did not.

Are our public services ready for the kind of business disruption likely to result from pandemic control measures – let alone any outbreak itself?

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