Doctor’s offices and hospitals around the country have been flooded with cases of H1N1 – the swine flu – and Texas is a hotspot. The Texas Department of State Health Services has classified the flu as “widespread” – it’s highest measure of infection rates – meaning “there are increases in flu-like illnesses and recent lab-confirmed flu cases in at least half of the state’s regions.”
Huntsville closed their public school campuses for a couple days last month due to flu-related absences and a hospital in Austin erected tents to treat the influx of patients complaining of flu-like symptoms. Closer to home, Dallas and Tarrant Counties both recorded their first swine flu-related deaths in the last month.
According the the CDC, the H1N1 vaccine won’t be available until mid-October and the currently available seasonal flu vaccine does not protect against H1N1. The longer individuals are able to delay the spread of both H1N1 and seasonal influenza, the higher the likelihood people accessing the vaccination in time to prevent falling ill.
Flu prevention and contingency planning will be very important for businesses this fall. Illness in their workforce, employee’s families, or even elsewhere in the supply chain could significantly injure the bottom lines of firms just beginning to recover from the recent recession.
In the coming week, the Imperative Blog will include links to resources about workplace flu prevention measures and planning to ensure business continuity in the face of a significant outbreak.