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U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano said Tuesday that pandemic flu is likely to flare up soon after schools reopen this fall, well before any vaccine is available, USA Today reports.
The H1N1 strain, also known as Swine Flu, is particularly dangerous because it is genetically different from virtually every other known flu virus. As a result, most people do not have immunity against it - making vaccinations paramount to preventing the illness and related deaths.
Napolitano said the flu epidemic is likely to be as severe as the 1957 flu outbreak, which killed about 70,000 people in the USA and more than one million people worldwide, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Comparatively speaking, the seasonal flu usually kills about 36,000 people and results in 200,000 hospitalizations.
We’re interested to know what companies are doing to prepare for the flu outbreak. The CDC has announced that vaccines will be available – will your company require them for high-risk individuals? Will travel be restricted? Let us know with a comment.