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International SOS Enhances H1N1 Pandemic Information Service

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International SOS, a leading provider of global medical assistance, international healthcare, security services and outsourced customer care, has added a number of enhancements to its Pandemic Information Service in the run-up to the traditional peak flu season.

New features include a scoring system designed to give companies at-a-glance access to how H1N1 is impacting countries; vaccination availability; and border screening information.

Since the outbreak of H1N1 in April, there have been more than 414,000 laboratory-confirmed cases and nearly 5,000 deaths worldwide, according to the World Health Organization as of 17 October 2009.

"With H1N1 an ever present threat and with new cases reported everyday globally, companies are seeking comprehensive information in real-time so that their pandemic plans can be updated to reduce employee absenteeism, keep their workforce safe and healthy to ensure business continuity wherever they have a presence," said Dr. Robert Allen, Regional Medical Director, Asia, International SOS.

International SOS' Pandemic Information Service provides a central repository of information from over 40 countries on H1N1 developments including border screening, quarantine, and isolation procedures.

 HR managers and corporate health administers can tap on this useful source of information and advice and incorporate them into their risk management programmes and pandemic plans that may impact a company's international business travellers and global workforce.

International SOS doctors have also developed a H1N1 Impact Scoring System that details the impact of the pandemic at both local and national levels. Based on four criteria i.e. the virus' geographical spread, the flu activity, and strain on medical services and business services, the resulting scores helps decision makers plan relevant pandemic planning interventions more effectively.

For example, China, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, and Thailand are all considered to be countries where H1N1 is widespread but the actual strain on medical services and the disruption of services is considered low.

Companies can also be better prepared by accessing the Pandemic Influenza Service Learning tool that provides training to employees on protective measures they can take to reduce infection rates. A special module that specifically addresses H1N1 is now available and can easily be accessed online.

"While some governments and health organisations are providing information on a regular basis, only International SOS' Pandemic Information Service gives companies visibility on a worldwide basis and provides comprehensive tools that enable companies to make informed decisions to ensure 'business as usual'," Dr. Allen added.

Members of the public can access general information relating to pandemic preparedness via the International SOS website while International SOS' corporate customers gain access to more exclusive content.

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