Pandemic influenza is new subject of Safety and Health Topics page

A new Safety and Health Topics Web page on pandemic influenza has been posted
by the U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety & Health Administration
(OSHA). The page is a central repository for information and resources on
helping workplaces prepare for a pandemic. One of the newest resources is a
link to a Web page featuring answers to the most frequently asked questions
about Pandemic Influenza Preparedness and Response Guidance for Healthcare
Workers and Healthcare Employers.

A pandemic is a global disease outbreak. An influenza pandemic occurs when a
new influenza virus emerges for which there is little or no immunity in the
human population; begins to cause serious illness; and then spreads easily
person-to-person worldwide. A worldwide influenza pandemic could have a major
effect on the global economy, including travel, trade, tourism, food,
consumption and eventually, investment and financial markets. Planning for
pandemic influenza by business and industry is essential to minimize a
pandemic's impact.

It is difficult to predict when the next influenza pandemic will occur or how
severe it will be. Wherever and whenever a pandemic starts, everyone around the
world is at risk. Countries might, through measures such as border closures and
travel restrictions, delay arrival of the virus, but cannot stop it.

During a pandemic, transmission can be anticipated in the workplace, not only
from patient to workers in health care settings, but also among co-workers in
general work settings. A pandemic would cause high levels of illness, death,
social disruption, and economic loss. Everyday life would be disrupted because
so many people in so many places become seriously ill at the same time. Impacts
could range from school and business closings to the interruption of basic
services such as public transportation and food delivery.

More info - Source: U.S. Department of Labor - Occupational Safety & Health Administration