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Pandemic risk

This story, provided by Maplecroft, was featured in The Times newspaper 12/1/2006. The reason why we address the issue here is that bringing in disease, or just the risk of bringing in disease, is becoming one of the major downsides and a major hidden cost of air travel.This story, provided by Maplecroft, was featured in The Times newspaper 12/1/2006. The reason why we address the issue here is that bringing disease, or just the risk of bringing in disease, is becoming one of the major downsides and a major hidden cost of air travel.‘Globalisation has brought home to us that today’s health challenges respect no boundaries. A threat like a flu pandemic cannot be addressed by one organisation, one group of countries, one sector or one profession. It presents us with an extraordinary collective challenge, and it calls for an extraordinary collective effort.’ – Kofi Annan, Secretary-General, United Nations (2005)Pandemics have occurred throughout recorded history from the bubonic plague of the 14th century to the current HIV/AIDS pandemic and the threat of pandemic avian influenza. Experts have predicted that a global influenza pandemic could kill more than 8 million people and result in economic losses of $800 billion.The Map of Pandemic Risk provides a perspective on the risk from emerging diseases in 161 countries. It explores the risk posed to human health and a conducive business environment in each country by an outbreak of a pandemic disease, with special focus on avian influenza (H5N1).In the event of pandemic influenza, business will play a key role in protecting employees’ health and limiting the negative impacts on the economy and society, especially in developing countries where policy frameworks are weak. An increasing number of companies are preparing contingency plans.Pandemic risk is one of the top ten risks that the Global Risk Network of the World Economic Forum has identified for the coming year and it will receive priority attention at the Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos, 25 -29th January 2006. Maplecroft is an adviser to this programme.More information in the KEY FINDINGSThe map provides three composite indices that address risk of emergence, risk of spread both to and within a country and risk of failure to contain a pandemic. The map shows three regions of extreme and high pandemic risk: Southeast Asia, Western Europe and Africa.Developing countries are most at risk overall but many developed nations are at extreme risk from the spread of a pandemic disease. These include the UK and much of Western Europe, the USA and Canada. The UK is number one at greatest risk of spread of pandemic.The map shows a high level of consistency with the locations of outbreaks of avian influenza in humans to date.Map of Pandemic Risk