Bird Flu Breakout

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    Just because a crisis isn’t in the news, doesn’t mean it’s gone for good

    Don’t shelve that bird flu crisis plan just yet. In case anyone had assumed this threat was completely gone simply because it vanished from mainstream media coverage,the disease has actually killed two people this year in China, and another large outbreak was just discovered.

    Here’s the report, direct from disaster and emergency monitoring group RSOE EDIS:

    Agricultural authorities in northwest China have culled about 95,000 chickens after an outbreak of the H5N1 bird flu virus, state press reported on Wednesday. The outbreak in Touying township of the Ningxia region was discovered on Friday last week after over 23,000 chickens began showing symptoms, reported the Ministry of Agriculture. The ministry said the “epidemic is now under control”, the report said, while work teams have been sent to the area to step up prevention measures. China is considered one of the nations most at risk of bird flu epidemics because it has the world’s biggest poultry population and many chickens in rural areas are kept close to humans. In January, a man in southwest China’s Guizhou province died after contracting the bird flu virus, the second such fatality reported in China this year, health authorities said.

    What’s the lesson here? Threats do not simply “go away” unless you find and fix the underlying cause. In the case of H1N1, organizations have no power to eliminate it. When that’s the hand you’re dealt, you’ve simply got to keep your ears open using services like RSOE EDIS, and remain prepared for action. You do have a plan for responding to an actual or threatened epidemic, right?

    For more resources, see the Free Management Library topic: Crisis Management

    [Jonathan Bernstein is president of Bernstein Crisis Management, Inc. , an international crisis management consultancy, and author of Manager’s Guide to Crisis Management and Keeping the Wolves at Bay – Media Training. Erik Bernstein is Social Media Manager for the firm, and also editor of its newsletter, Crisis Manager]