You know, influenza is a remarkable disease. All the while we have been looking at Asia for signs of a flu pandemic, and wouldn't you know that the most serious pandemic threat since SARS manifests itself within the borders of our neighbor to the south!
I won't bother reciting all the facts and informed speculation regarding the sudden (and I mean SUDDEN) emergence of Mexican H1N1 swine flu. For that, you can go to my blogsite, www.scottmcpherson.net, and get caught up better and faster than on any other blogsite in the Known Universe.
In a nutshell: In just the last couple of weeks, a brand-new, never-before-seen strain of H1N1 swine flu has emerged in Mexico. It is an avian/swine/human hybrid that no one has ever seen before. It is suspected of infecting nearly 1,000 Mexican people, and has possibly killed 60. This, according to the World Health Organization, which is not prone to wild-eyed speculation.
The virus has already jumped the border with the United States, infecting at least seven people in two distinct clusters in San Diego, California and San Antonio, Texas.
The Centers for Disease Control says the method of transmission is believed to be person-to-person.
The WHO has not yet raised the external pandemic threat level, but mark my words that if this virus' footprint is found in Europe, or in Asia, they will go from 3 to 4. The WHO has raised their internal activation to a more serious level.
What does this mean to you, IT-person? If you are an IT manager or CIO, it means you need to be reviewing your pandemic plans now, and familiarizing yourself with them again immediately.
It is probably too late to buy anything, or to buy anything more. Besides, who has the money to buy anything, anyway? Likewise, organizations' leaders are only now awakening to the very real possibility that this new virus might not eventually be contained by the Mexican government, the WHO or the CDC.
So all we can do is educate our people (quickly!), plan, and watch.
How much time do we have? Pandemics originating in Asia were expected to bring a virus to our doorsteps within three weeks. A pandemic originating in Latin America? Well, you look at the flights to Miami, Dallas, New York, LA -- and the fact the Mexican government has closed all the schools in Mexico City until they can get their minds around the situation. A pandemic from Latin America will get to us much more quickly than we realize.