Emergency Preparedness and Response

WHO Calls Zika Virus Global Health Emergency. Is It a Workplace Emergency?

The World Health Organization (WHO) recently declared the Zika virus and its suspected link to brain-damaged babies a public health emergency of international concern. The main concern is a link to microcephaly—a condition that causes babies to be born with unusually small heads and, in the vast majority of cases, damaged brains.

According to the CDC, at least a dozen cases have been confirmed in the United States—all people who had traveled to countries already hit by the virus. However, the Aedes mosquito, which carries the virus, is expected to reach the United States quickly.

Industries that could potentially be impacted by the Zika virus include healthcare providers and first responders, who could be exposed to blood and bodily fluids, and outdoors workers, who could be exposed to mosquito bites.

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