<p>Could this year's flu outbreak slow down the U.S. economy?</p>

With hospitals around the country flooded with flu-stricken individuals, it’s clear that this year’s outbreak is much stronger than those from previous seasons. While the jury is still out as to whether we might see a repeat of the infamous 1918 influenza pandemic, there is a heightened risk that the 2013 influenza could create a slowdown effect in the U.S. economy. According to some American economists, a significant portion of the forecasted GDP growth might be impaired as well.

This issue is multifaceted, some experts say. Part of the problem is that, because an increased number of workers are forced to seek out medical attention, companies are facing higher medical costs for the employees they cover. Additionally, with more employees taking time off to recover from the flu, businesses might suffer from a significant drop in productivity. With the flu season expected to continue for several more months, it’s tough to predict exactly what impact this output reduction could truly have.

“If this is a major influenza outbreak, like the Spanish flu of 1918, it could have a very significant effect on economic growth,” Timothy Nash, an economics professor at Northwood University, told ABC News in a recent interview. “If GDP is projected to be be 2 percent this year, the flu could cut that back to one half percent growth rate.”

The source reported that 41 states are experiencing heightened levels of flu outbreaks, with 29 of them purportedly suffering from severe levels of hospital activity. Because influenza treatment primarily focuses on symptomatic issues, many medical facilities are being swamped with more patients than they can handle.

Wealth preservation methods are an important part of economic planning, and those with a financial stake in the U.S. economy might want to consider some of the risks associated with a potential U.S. flu epidemic. Stay with GreatWealthStrategies.com for more updates on this and other issues facing the investing community.