Does Your Business Have to Worry About Ebola?

by Chris Martin on October 22, 2014

“A senior American official is saying that the scary-deadly Ebola virus, which began in Africa but has now reached the U.S. and ballooned into a horrendous pandemic, will obliterate 89.4% of the population within 36 hours and can be transmitted by bodily fluids, breath, and even by looking at someone the wrong way. ‘We are all doomed,’ the official said as he curled into a fetal position and began sobbing uncontrollably”
-news report from Chicken Little Magazine

“I knew it! We’re all gonna DIIIIIIEEEEE!!!”

No, the Ebola crisis is not anywhere near that frightening or apocalyptic. But judging by the amount and tone of some of the news reports you’ve been seeing, you could be forgiven if you thought that America is a few months away from certain disease-driven annihilation.

U.S. Precautions Taken Against Ebola

It’s true that at least one person on U.S. soil has died from Ebola, and that almost four thousand people in Africa have also perished from the disease. In addition, all passengers on U.S.-bound flights from Africa are being screened for the virus prior to boarding their aircraft. And hospitals and health care facilities in all 50 states are on alert watching for signs of Ebola.

Let’s say you own your own business in the U.S. Should you be worried?

No Need For Panic

Here’s the part of the story that isn’t being stressed enough; although Ebola may be discovered in other people in America, it is extremely doubtful that the disease will spread as rapidly as it has on the African continent. The main reason is that U.S. doctors know how to properly handle Ebola patients – by isolating them so that the virus doesn’t spread. In Africa, health care facilities are often so primitive that they cannot take the necessary precautions to prevent the spread of Ebola.

It does look kinda nasty under a microscope, though.

There’s another reason why Ebola is not likely to become an American epidemic. Ebola is dangerous for two main reasons: one, there is no cure for it; and two, it is highly infectious, meaning that people who contract the virus have a high probability of experiencing symptoms.

But even though Ebola is infectious, it isn’t very contagious. In other words, it’s quite difficult for a patient to accidentally pass it on to another person. Ebola is only spread through contact with bodily fluids (blood, diarrhea, vomit) instead of via airborne droplets from sneezing or saliva. Put another way, Ebola is less contagious than MERS, which landed on U.S. shores earlier this year but was contained successfully.

What Should Your Business Do?

Therefore, business owners don’t need to adopt hygienic measures that are any different from what they normally practice. There isn’t any requirement for them to isolate food, separate staff from customers, or clean their floors and floor mats every hour.

There’s no need for your business to change to a “hazmat-casual” dress code.

Instead, businesses should view Ebola prevention just like they would many of the more common ailments found in the U.S., like colds and the flu. That means washing hands thoroughly, keeping foodservice surfaces clean, and avoiding bodily contact with the aforementioned bodily fluids. And if you suspect that someone may have Ebola, make sure the individual sees a doctor immediately.

Ebola is becoming a major challenge for nations of the world. But for the typical American resident or business owner, there is absolutely no need to panic, hide, or drastically change your day-to-day activities.

Written by Chris Martin 

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