Introduction

In March of 2009, Mexican authorities begin to realize an increase in "influenza-like-illness." On April 12, a 39-year old woman suffering from an acute respiratory illness dies after five days of hospital treatment, and another death occurs at the same hospital a few days later. On April 23, U.S. public health officials announce that seven people in California and Texas have been diagnosed with, and are recovering from, a flu virus known as H1N1. At this point, it is unclear whether the U.S. and Mexican cases are related.

On Sunday, April 26, the U.S. declares a health emergency after the confirmation of 20 cases, including eight students in New York who had traveled to Mexico. Alerts are sent by the National Safety Council (NSC) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to the smart phones of any employer representative in their networks. The next day, the World Health Organization (WHO) raises the pandemic alert level from 3 to 4 on a scale of 6 (see Appendix A), meaning verified human-to-human spread of a virus that is able to cause "community-level-outbreaks." Phase 4 signals a "significant increase in risk of a pandemic". Many U.S.-based corporations start reviewing their written business continuity plans. Most of these plans were written or revised a few years before, based on the threat of Avian Influenza in Asia or threat of a terrorism event such as Anthrax after 9/11, not Influenza A virus, then called Swine Flu.

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