Most U.S. Companies Unprepared for Flu Outbreak, Survey Finds
Most companies have not developed plans to prepare for an unexpected flu outbreak, according to a survey scheduled for release on Friday at a meeting of representatives from 25 companies and public health experts, the AP/San Jose Mercury News reports. The survey -- conducted by a new research group established by former HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson and part of Deloitte & Touche -- found that two-thirds of some the largest U.S. companies do not have plans to protect their employees or to ensure continued operation during a flu outbreak.
In addition, 63% of respondents said that they were not certain whether they would waive sick leave restrictions for symptomatic employees, and 39% said that they could take no actions to prepare for a flu outbreak, according to the survey.
Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, said that public health experts are concerned about the issue because many companies provide necessary products and services. "We still have to feed people. How do we assure we have heat, fuel oil, electricity?" Osterholm said.
The federal government next week will release recommendations to help companies develop plans to prepare for a flu outbreak (AP/San Jose Mercury News, 12/2).