Multinationals plan ahead to reduce impact of possible outbreak if avian flu affects humans

Multinational companies are taking steps to plan for a global outbreak if avian flu jumps to humans.

A survey of 90 worldwide operations, by consultancy Watson Wyatt Worldwide, shows that 32% of those with divisions in the Asia Pacific region already have plans in place, while 52% there are considering developing programmes to deal with a possible outbreak.

Just under half of the companies operating in the US are considering such plans, as are 47% in Europe, 44% in Latin America and 42% in Canada.

In the US only 15% already have plans in place, 11% in Europe, 10% in Canada and 9% in Latin America.

However, about 20% of multinationals are not at all concerned about avian flu jumping to humans.

“While focusing on Asia is a logical response to news of flu cases there, employers need to make sure they are considering the possible impact an outbreak could have on all regions,” said Robert Wesselkamper, director of international consulting at Watson Wyatt.

“It pays to be proactive when dealing with a virus that could have such a big impact on the workforce.”

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