26% of the UK population is fully vaccinated and lockdown is about to ease, so why is it still critical to implement new health and safety measures for your staff? The World's Health Organizations have identified a range of viruses that could develop into another global pandemic. To ensure we do not suffer the same loss of life and devastating financial impact, it is critical to measure risk and bring back our workforce safely.
1. MERS-COV (MIDDLE EAST RESPIRATORY SYNDROME CORONAVIRUS)
A respiratory disease spread through coughing or sneezing, MERS-CoV is one of three coronaviruses to cause a significant threat to global health in the last two decades. There is currently no vaccine despite some early trials.
2. SARS (SEVERE ACUTE RESPIRATORY SYNDROME)
Many will remember SARS already caused a global pandemic in 2003 infecting 8,273 people and killing 775 across 37 countries. There is no guarantee SARS will not return in the future.
A recent study suggests humans can carry the dormant Ebola virus for years in their eyes and central nervous system. The World Health Organization has warned there is a "very high risk" that an Ebola virus outbreak in Guinea could spread to neighbouring countries.
4. MARBURG VIRUS DISEASE
From the same family as Ebola, Marburg Virus Disease is extremely deadly, killing 88% of people infected. No vaccines or antiviral drugs for MARV are currently available.
5. LASSA FEVER
A viral haemorrhagic illness, such as Ebola, 1 in 5 people infected with Lassa virus has severe disease affecting the liver, spleen or kidneys. Experts suggest up to 100k people contract Lassa Fever annually.
NIPAH has been in the news a lot lately due to its deadly nature, killing up to 75% of people it infects. It spreads through close contact with infected pigs and raw food contaminated with urine or saliva from infected bats. The virus can cause extreme brain swelling, the symptoms of which are headache, stiff neck, vomiting, dizziness and falling into a coma.
The ZIKA virus spread rapidly in 2015 causing birth defects referred to as congenital Zika syndrome: in addition to a higher risk of miscarriage, babies born to pregnant women infected with Zika are at risk of microcephaly. Zika virus is spread by Aedes mosquitoes, which also transmit dengue and chikungunya viruses.
8. CRIMEAN-CONGO HAEMORRHAGIC FEVER
Mostly affecting livestock, Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever is spread through tick bites. Humans contract the fever when they come into contact with recently slaughtered infected animals or in some cases human-to-human contact. Human infection is endemic to many countries in Asia, Africa and the Balkans, but due to global travel, the fever is also spreading further afield.
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