GOLDEN, CO. – The number of confirmed swine flu cases will continue to grow as incubation, testing and reporting on the outbreak lags as much as two weeks behind real-world conditions, said Firestorm Expert Council member Dr. Stephen Cunnion on Wednesday during the company’s webinar entitled “Swine Flu: Predict. Plan. Perform.”

“The snapshot of the virus we are seeing today is not in real time,” said Cunnion, Medical Director of the National Security Health Policy Center and the first person to alert the Western world of SARS. “The likelihood is that the spread is much farther along than we now know.”

Cunnion also warned of the continued mutation of the virus, and the probability that the strain would wane and reappear, such as occurred in previous flu pandemics. The first swine flu death in the U.S. was confirmed Wednesday morning, and the infection total reached a reported 91 cases in 10 states.

Firestorm CEO Harry Rhulen guided webinar participants through the company’s Predict. Plan. Perform. methodology, which allowed it to alert clients on Saturday that the outbreak had triggered their Communicable Illness plans. On Sunday, Firestorm President/COO James W. Satterfield predicted the implementation of travel and commerce restrictions and growing financial impacts based on the escalating outbreak.

“It is not too late to plan; the mistake would be to do nothing and hope this outbreak just goes away,” said Rhulen on the webinar. “Companies should prioritize educating and training their employees.”

Firestorm, a national leader in business continuity, vulnerability analysis, risk mitigation and crisis management, has developed Communicable Illness/Pandemic plans for major corporations. Its Expert Council includes former U.S. Surgeons General C. Everett Koop and David Satcher. Its Healthcare Response Team has more than five centuries of collective experience in public health and emergency preparedness, hospital operations, and healthcare delivery, and is led by Donald A. Donahue, the Executive Director of the National Security Health Policy Center.

Firestorm offers institutions of all types a no-fee conference call to discuss communicable illness planning and policies. The preparedness book “Disaster Ready People for a Disaster Ready America,” contains material on communicable illness planning and is available for free download at www.firestorm.com.

Continuing updates on the situation can be found at www.firestorm.com or the Communicable Illness group on LinkedIn. Rhulen can be reached at [email protected] or 1-800-321-2219. Media inquiries can be made to Mike Pennetti at [email protected] or 678-557-9243.