Mon Oct 26, 2009 6:53pm EDT

By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Editor

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Securities exchanges have a sound network back-up if a severe pandemic keeps people home and clogging the Internet, but the Homeland Security Department has done little planning, Congressional investigators said on Monday.

The department does not even have a plan to start work on the issue, the General Accountability Office said.

But the Homeland Security Department accused the GAO of having unrealistic expectations of how the Internet could be managed if millions began to telework from home at the same time as bored or sick schoolchildren were playing online, sucking up valuable bandwidth.

Experts have for years pointed to the potential problem of Internet access during a severe pandemic, which would be a unique kind of emergency. It would be global, affecting many areas at once, and would last for weeks or months, unlike a disaster such as a hurricane or earthquake.

H1N1 swine flu has been declared a pandemic but is considered a moderate one. Health experts say a worse one — or a worsening of this one — could result in 40 percent absentee rates at work and school at any given time and closed offices, transportation links and other gathering places.

full article


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•  Ontario teen Evan Frustaglio died of swine flu: update  (Link)
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•  BC had 3 new deaths & 88 new severely ill since Oct. 20 (Link)
•  Toronto region has 5 severe cases in children, 2 more deaths (Link)
•  Ottawa considers vaccinating school-aged children as ‘high-priority’ (Link)
•   Saskatchewan 6 yr old lost to H1N1 mourned by father (Link)

•  Kindergarten closed in Finland as A/H1N1 flu spreads (Link)

•  India: Pune’s death toll reaches 92  (Link)
•  7 Bangalore doctors sick with H1N1 (Link)
•   India declares itself free from bird flu  (Link)

•  Endang Summoned by House of Representatives (translated) (Link)

•  Deaths point to growing flu epidemic (Link)

•  Russia confirms 2 deaths (Link)
•  Russia reports its first confirmed swine flu deaths; 4 people reported to have died (Link)

•  Message to public, no kissing or handshaking for next 5 months  (Link)

•  Seven die from complications after unknown flu type in Ternopil region (Link)
•  Seven flu deaths reported near Lvov in the Ternopol region (Link)

United Kingdom
•  Northern Ireland: Swine flu jab boy rushed to hospital (Link)
•  Ten people critically ill with swine flu (Link)
•  Elton tour off (Link)
•  Tenth Irish swine flu death confirmed (Link)

United States
•  H1N1 flu ‘pushing hospitals to their limit’ (Link)
•  AZ: Flu clinic “overdoses” 7 children (Link)
•  AZ: Flagstaff flu clinic gives adult doses to 7 kids (Link)
•  CA: 900 get vaccinated for H1N1, others miss out for a 2nd time (Link)
•  CO: Avalanche Hockey goalie has the H1N1 (Link)
•  MN: Lesnar training partner: Brock couldn’t beat flu after 25 days (Link)
•  RI: Rhode Island 12 yr old girl dead after ILI (Link)
•  Washington, DC: President Obama’s children got the H1N1 vaccine (Link)

•  Sickest H1N1 Cases in Canada, Mexico Detailed in Medical Journal  (Link)
•  Preparing for the Sickest Patients With 2009 Influenza A(H1N1)  (Link)
•   Supercomputer predicts third H1N1 wave in spring (Link)