Middle Eastern Respitory Syndrome (MERS) May be Airborne According to Scientists

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Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), a deadly respiratory virus with symptoms of fever, cough, and shortness of breath, has made its way to the United States in recent months. Since Send Word Now first warned of the MERS discovery in last summer’s blog post, MERS has caused over 800 people worldwide to fall ill with around 30% of those victims suffering a MERS-related death.

Although the transmission method of the virus was originally unclear, according to CNN scientists are now concerned MERS may be an airborne virus. If confirmed, this discovery could place a significantly higher percentage of the population at risk of contracting this deadly illness.

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), there is no vaccine for MERS, but there are a few preventative measures that you can take to protect yourself from contracting this and other illnesses:

• Wash your hands regularly with soap and water.
• Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough and sneeze.
• Never touch your eyes, nose, or mouth with unclean hands.
• Avoid personal contact with anyone who is sick.
• Clean and disinfect any frequently touched surfaces.

Viral infections are a real threat to your personal health. They are also a threat to the health of your business. As is the case with any type of natural disaster or other critical emergency, business continuity professionals should be prepared for a health crisis that could affect a large percentage of employees. These types of disruptions can put your business at risk. Take the time to examine the health of your business continuity / disaster recovery plan to ensure that you are ready to handle a viral pandemic with these preventative measures:

• Have a clear business continuity plan in place.
• Be prepared to communicate effectively in an emergency situation.
• Educate all key personnel on how to implement the plan.
• Maintain up to date contact information for all employees so that any messages can be communicated effectively.
• Practice and review the plan regularly.
• Be prepared to implement the plan in case of a widespread pandemic.

Like other crisis scenarios, widespread pandemics are a serious threat to your company’s business continuity. Take care to keep your employees and your business healthy. _