Business Continuity Preparedness and Response

In today’s global economy, public health emergencies such as flu pandemics, natural disasters, chemical accidents and bioterrorism can wreak havoc on the health of your employees, business continuity and economic security. What steps can you take to preserve and protect your business before a crisis strikes?

Find out below how initiatives and resources from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention help you safeguard your business from everyday health threats and major public health emergencies.

Business Challenges

Public health emergencies can cause widespread losses.
Emergency preparedness is critical for business continuity.

Avian Flu

H5N1, a rare but deadly form of avian flu, began circulating in 2003 and led to higher levels of business pandemic preparedness. More recently, WHO confirmed 135 human cases of avian influenza A (H7N9) including 45 deaths, effective August 13, 2013. While there is no evidence of sustained person-to-person transmission, the Chinese government continues to take strict monitoring, prevention and control measures.

H1N1 Pandemic

H1N1 caused a worldwide pandemic in 2009. CDC estimates that in the U.S. from April 2009 to April 2010, between 43 and 89 million cases of H1N1 occurred, as well as about 195,000 to 403,000 H1N1-related hospitalizations.

Source: CDC

A flu pandemic could cause a serious impact on the U.S. economy, with immediate costs of

$100 to $250 Billion*.

*Represents 2012 dollars. Source: CDC.

Up to 40 percent of business affected by a disaster

Source: Insurance Information Institute

Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome

SARS, a viral respiratory illness caused by a coronavirus, was first reported in Asia in February 2003. Globally, the World Health Organization (WHO) received reports of SARS from 29 countries and regions. There were 8,096 persons with probable SARS, resulting in 774 deaths. In the United States, eight SARS infections were documented by laboratory testing and an additional 19 probable SARS infections were reported.

Source: CDC

SARS in 2003

disrupted travel, trade and the workplace and cost the Asia-Pacific region

$40 Billion.

Source: World Bank

The economic destruction of Japan's

2011 Tsunami & Nuclear Disaster

was massive. 138,000 BUILDINGS were destroyed and $360 BILLION in economic losses were incurred.

Source: Brookings Institute

Flu Facts

  • The flu is spread mainly by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk.
  • Most healthy adults may be able to infect others beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and 5 to 7 days after becoming sick.
  • The single best way to prevent the flu is to get a flu vaccine each season.
Source: CDC

Each year the flu costs
businesses approximately

$10.4 Billion

in direct costs for hospitalizations and outpatient visits.

Source: CDC

Take Action

CDC plays a critical role in business health security, helping business protect workforce health and preserve continuity of operations in times of crisis.

Take concrete actions with the CDC's Pandemic Preparedness Planning:


Host a seasonal flu vaccine clinic in your workplace and use CDC's Business Toolkit to help you plan:


Promote vaccination of your employees and their families in the community. Post a flyer in the office.


Connect with your state and local health departments in advance of a crisis.

CDC's Busines Benefits

Whether you realize it or not, CDC initiatives help safeguard business from everyday health threats and major public health emergencies. Current and recent threats CDC is responding to include the MERS coronavirus, H7N9, ricin letters and multistate fungal meningitis.

Laboratory Response Network

In 1999, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) established the Laboratory Response Network (LRN). The LRN’s purpose is to run a network of labs that can respond to biological and chemical threats, and other public health emergencies. Read More.

90% of the US Population

lives within 100 miles of a CDC Laboratory Response Network facility.

CDC supports 5,000

critical public health workers who serve as first responders during public health emergencies.

In 12 Hours

CDC can deliver life-saving medical countermeasures from the Strategic National Stockpile to anywhere in the United States

CDC's Select Agent Program regulates

57 Biological Agents and 323 Registered Entities

that could pose severe threat to public health, safety and commerce.

CDC developed and uses a Rapid Toxic Screen Test

that can quickly screen human blood for traces of 150 toxic chemicals, including those most likely to be used by terrorists.

Just a few of the EOC's responses include:

  • 2013H7N9, MERS responses
  • 2012Meningitis Outbreak
  • 2011Japan Earthquake
  • 2010Gulf oil spill
  • 2009H1N1 influenza
  • 2008Salmonella Outbreak
  • 2007Hurricane Dean
  • 2006E. Coli Outbreaks
  • 2005Hurricane Katrina
  • 2004Avian Flu
  • 2003SARS outbreak
  • 2001Terrorist attacks
Click for recent outbreaks and incidents

Since 2001, CDC’s 24/7 Emergency Operations Center has responded to more than

50 public health threats in the US and abroad

including numerous natural disasters and foodborne disease outbreaks.

Take Action

The threats that CDC responds to affect both domesic and international businesses and their employees. Here's how you can stay informed:

Be aware of the latest public health incidents by following CDC on Twitter


Learn more about CDC’s disaster preparedness and response initiatives, and CDC's partnerships with business, at these websites:


CDC Resources

CDC offers a wide range of resources to help business, as well as many ways to connect with CDC for timely information. You can be proactive in connecting with CDC in advance of a crisis to protect business continuity and the health of your employees.

Use CDC's

Emergency Preparedness for Business

  • Emergency Management Guides
  • Facility Protection
  • Business Emergency Program
  • Emergency Contacts
CDC Resources

Community-wide efforts involving

Business Leaders

are essential to response and recovery. Large-scale disasters may overwhelm public health resources.


Build strong alliances across public and private sectors before a crisis strikes.

Find out more

A public-private partnership with CDC and a major hotel chain involved developing plans for the company’s locations in 9 public health jurisdictions to assist state and local health departments in providing medications to the public in the event of a severe public health emergency.

Your Business

could help local public health officials dispense lifesaving medicines in the community.

Learn How

For Medical Executives in Business:

Participate in the new quarterly CDC

Health Executive Conference Calls

For Chief Medical Officers:

Participate in CDC's

Clinician Outreach and Communications Activity

conference calls

Learn More

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For more information on how CDC helps businesses and communities:

Business Pulse

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