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CEO Addresses Georgia Business Leaders About Developing Pandemic and Business Continuity Plans
Date:2/4/2008

ATLANTA, Feb. 4 /PRNewswire/ -- George Abercrombie, president and chief executive officer, Hoffmann-La Roche Inc., told more than 200 Atlanta business leaders today at a Rotary Club of Atlanta luncheon that the threat of a pandemic flu presents businesses with challenges unlike those anticipated with traditional emergency preparedness plans.

"While businesses are all too familiar with preparing for potential disasters such as floods or tornadoes," according to Abercrombie, "local businesses also need to look at the special challenges posed by the potential of a public health crisis caused by a global influenza pandemic."

Abercrombie, who shared details of Roche's own plans to safeguard the health of its employees and business infrastructure during a pandemic flu outbreak, says that Georgia's key industry sectors, including government; manufacturing; real estate, rental and leasing; wholesale trade; and retail trade would be among the hardest hit.

Last March, Trust for America's Health released a report (funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts as part of the U.S. Pandemic Preparedness Initiative) estimating that Georgia could face a potential financial loss of $19.8 billion as a result of a severe pandemic flu outbreak.

"Influenza pandemics are not static events like a hurricane or tornado, nor are they confined to a specific area. Pandemics come in multiple waves, each one affecting a given area from four to twelve weeks. During the first wave, officials expect 20 to 30% of people will become ill. Here in Fulton County, that's 190,000 to 288,000 people who will get very sick in a very short period of time, inundating emergency rooms already strained to near capacity."

According to Abercrombie, experts believe that many businesses and organizations would have difficulty maintaining operations as a result of an increased level of absenteeism due to illness, employees caring for the sick and social-distancing policies. In Georgia a
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SOURCE Hoffmann-La Roche Inc.
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