Bird Flu: It's Back …

Even though "it" has not yet hit Continental Europe or the United States yet, it's only a matter of months before "it" does. And in this case the "it" is very scary indeed (at least theoretically). Bird flu, which has not yet mutated into a disease that is easily passed between humans, has the catastrophic potential to slow trade to and from Asia to a halt if and when it does evolve into an easily transmittable pathogen (and judging by the timing of past flu pandemics in 1918, 1957, and 1968, we're due for another major epidemic).

If you want a good global sourcing focused update on bird flu, check out this European Leaders blog on the subject. According to one survey cited in the post, "just one-in-three companies have prepared themselves for the risk of an outbreak of a human form of bird flu, which is hardly encouraging at a time when a huge number of companies are actively sourcing goods and labour from companies in South East Asia: still the most likely location for any pandemic flu outbreak to begin." My interpretation of this is that if bird flu is not factoring into your supply risk equation, it should. And fast.

Jason Busch

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