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Avian flu impact on the price of disposable gloves

February 2, 2012
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Between January 1, 2011 and March 2, 2011 there were 679 cases of Influenza A (H1N1) recorded in Malaysia. Three of the cases resulted in death. In addition to the cases reported by the Malaysian Ministry of Health, Egypt, Indonesia, Cambodia, South Korea and Hong Kong have also reported new cases of the H5N1 virus (avian flu).

According to researchers at MIT, a newly discovered mutation of the H1N1 virus appears to allow easier transmission among humans. Although this does not guarantee that a pandemic will occur, it does make it a more likely threat.

When the H1N1 pandemic peaked back in 2009, there was a severe impact on disposable glove sales. Given that disposable gloves are the first line of defense against such attacks, 2009 saw worldwide sales increase by more than 22 billion pieces (approximately an 18% increase year-over-year). Of that total, roughly half could be directly attributable to the H1N1 virus. The upward spike in orders caused a three to four month backlog from the glove manufacturers. With the backlog of glove orders came higher glove prices.

Should there be a marked increase in A (H1N1) cases in the coming months, the probability is high of another surge in demand for disposable gloves.

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