Guest blog by Robert Clark: Ebola is back – Could it cause the next pandemic?

For November, read exclusive blogs from business continuity expert and our author of the month Robert Clark.

Written by Robert Clark.

It is not uncommon to find National Risk Registers (NNR) predicting a severe influenza pandemic occurring in the near future comparable to the devastating and terrifying deadly Spanish Flu outbreak of 1918 which left 50 million dead. However, in addition to the influenza threat, a number of novel contagions have been identified in recent years. Categorised by the UK’s NNR as ‘emerging infectious diseases’ these include Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Ebola which cannot be overlooked.

While researching for his book “Business Continuity and the Pandemic Threat”, November’s ‘Author of the Month’ – Robert Clark, travelled to several locations that have suffered at the hands of various contagions. In Hong Kong he was able to study both the healthcare challenges and economic impact from SARS which was labelled an economic tsunami. Moreover, it is no exaggeration to say that in terms of social behaviour – people were simply petrified. It presented us a major wakeup call in 2003 and some experts consider SARS as a dress-rehearsal for the next pandemic. It also afforded unequivocal testimony that aviation travellers can enable pathogenic diseases to traverse the planet in a matter of hours. Ebola badly affected West African countries causing over 11,000 fatalities in 2014-16. Four years later it is on the march again.

However, instead of threatening mainly rural areas as in 2014, despite efforts to contain it, the disease is gaining a foothold in highly populated areas of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). This could facilitate easier disease transmission both within the DRC and beyond its borders especially with an incubation period potentially as short as 2 days usually accompanied by a very sudden onset of the illness. Organisations believing they have ample time to prepare for the next severe pandemic need only to look at SARS. After it broke out of China, it took an overnight stop in Hong Kong before rapidly moving onto Toronto, Singapore and Hanoi. While we cannot prevent pandemics occurring, Clark’s book explains what we can expect while providing clear and concise examples on how organisations can prepare appropriate mitigation and contingency plans.


Business Continuity and the Pandemic Threat

Topics covered in this book include:

  • The World Health Organisation (WHO)’s pandemic phases and the Centre for Disease Control (CDC)’s Pandemic Severity Index
  • Preventive control measures
  • Crisis management and the composition of a crisis management team
  • Dealing with cash-flow, staff absenteeism, home working and supply chain management
  • Communications and media plans
  • Pandemic issues for HR
  • The threat to critical national infrastructure
  • Health service contingency plans and First Responders’ business continuity plans
  • The provision of vaccines and antiviral medicines – including relevant ethical issues
20% discount on all Robert’s ITGP books

Receive a 20% discount on all of Robert’s ITGP books this November when you use discount code BCM20 at the checkout.

Robert’s books include:

Business Continuity and the Pandemic Threat
Validating Your Business Continuity Plan
In Hindsight – A compendium of Business Continuity case studies