ehs wire



blog horizontal banner

Environmental Health and Safety Blog | EHSWire

Learning from H1N1 – Employers Need to Consider Continued Pandemic Threats

Posted by Shivi Kakar

Jan 1, 1980 1:00:00 AM

by Genya Mallach
Most recently, we have had to educate ourselves on the wide-spread outbreak of influenza virus, H1N1, and the precautions necessary to break the pandemic, which is far from over. Not to downplay the risk of the H1N1 virus, a virulent, drug resistant form of Tuberculosis (TB) has appeared in the United States. This disease is so ancient that it has been found in the spine of a 4,400-year-old Egyptian mummy. Tuberculosis is still the top single infectious killer of adults worldwide. According to the World Health Organization, it lies dormant in one out of three people. Of those, 10 percent will develop active TB, and about 2 million people a year will die from it.

It was just six months ago that word was leaked to the public of a case of TB that was originally diagnosed in 2007, and has greatly alarmed the medical community. Oswaldo Juarez, a then 19-year old Peruvian visiting US to study English was diagnosed with XXDR (Extremely Drug Resistant) TB. This is a strain of TB that had never before been seen in the U.S.

Dr. David Ashkin, one of the nation’s leading experts on tuberculosis, described this form of tuberculosis as so rare that only a handful of people in the world are thought to have had it.The treatment of an XXDR TB is an equivalent to aggressive chemotherapy, requires strict quarantine and costs hundreds of thousands of dollars to treat.

The questions we must now ask are: Should we consider testing of TB in the work environment? Should periodic testing of all workers be required? Should we be worried of another pandemic?

Subscribe to!


Latest Posts

Posts by category