The outbreak of avian flu cases (H5N1 virus) in Turkey highlights the importance to business of good preparation against the potential risks of a widespread epidemic, including travel precautions and revisions to business continuity plans, says Marie-Gemma Dequae, the President of the Federation of European Risk Management Associations (FERMA).

“A massive outbreak of avian flu will not only affect the health of employees and their families, but also businesses. Through loss of production and sales, added value in our companies could be destroyed,” she comments. “Risk management measures have to be taken.”

Ms Dequae says:

• This has to start with getting grip on real facts and figures and extending travel guidelines and precautions in countries at risk.

• Companies have to gather information on the development of vaccines and establish procedures for early detection of illness.

• They must follow closely the reaction of international government bodies, like the World Health Organization (WHO) and the plan issued by the European Commission.

• It is also important for companies to optimise their preparedness by revising their business continuity responses and establishing good communication channels.