Avian Flu: Execs Think the Unthinkable

November 17, 2005
by John Carey

Sometime, somewhere, the seeds of a potential global pandemic will be sown. In Indonesia, Thailand, China, or any other country where the intimate mingling of people, poultry, and pathogens creates a cauldron of viral evolution, a bird-flu bug will mutate so that it can be transmitted from person to person... ...These measures, however, raise uncomfortable questions. Yes, people should stay home if they are sick. But many will insist on coming in because they fear losing wages or their jobs, says Kim Elliott, deputy director of the nonprofit Trust for America's Health. "Will Wal-Mart (WMT ) pay its hourly workers for not coming in?" she asks. Some companies have assured employees that they will continue to pay wages even if sequestered staff can't work.

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