UK tops list of 213 countries at extreme risk to spread of swine flu
29 June 2009
A Warwick Business School professor and one of the founders of global
risks specialist, Maplecroft, has released three new maps and indices
revealing the countries most at risk from an influenza pandemic.
The Influenza Pandemic Risk Index (IPRI) consists of three
categories: risk of emergence, risk of spread, capacity to contain.
Each index generates a list of countries most at risk and which
require a tailored policy response on the part of government and
business. Maplecroft's research focuses on global risks to business.
The map of Risk of Spread shows the UK most at risk to the spread of
an influenza pandemic, ranking number 1 out of 213 countries. The
Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Russia, Canada and Japan are also
categorised as extreme risk because of their high population density,
urbanisation and busy airports.
Even though the UK and other developed Western nations are at extreme
risk of spread, their capacity to contain influenza pandemics ranks low
Large stockpiling of drugs and a sophisticated health infrastructure,
which the Capacity to Contain index captures, means they have very
effective measures with which to fight human influenza.
Sub-Saharan Africa stands out as the area least able to contain
pandemic influenza with 27 out of the 30 most extreme risk countries.
The capacity of a country to contain the spread of human influenza
depends on factors of wealth, health infrastructure, education
resources, information and communication networks, and governance.
The Risk of Emergence index unsurprisingly categorises Mexico as
extreme risk and ranks the country as fourth most at risk, whilst
Vietnam, China and Bangladesh top the table.
Countries most prone to risk of emergence of swine or avian flu in
humans are poorer countries that have dense rural populations, with
living quarters in close proximity to livestock. This is compounded by
poor hygiene, lack of access to clean water and sanitation and poor
public health education.
"It is important to see a newly emerging set of global risks —
whether pandemics, conflict and terrorism, resource security including
water stress, or climate change as inter-related," states Alyson
Warhurst, Chair of Strategy and International Development at Warwick
"Climate change is causing drought and flooding which in turn leads
to crop failures and the destruction of livelihoods which in turn lead
to poverty and the conditions that we see increase vulnerability to
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