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Thursday, January 5, 2012

Contagion in The Workplace: Ready or Not

The recent scientific announcement that scientists have developed an airborne strain of a highly contagious and deadly H5N1 flu virus brings to front burner the issue, once again, of whether the workers' compensation system is ready to respond effectively to a large spread viral  epidemic.

Whether the release is because of an unintentional act, or a terrorist attack, the workers' compensation system has not established a protocol for responding with urgent medical care and an elaborate and expedited medical delivery and benefit system.

Read more: Debate Persists on Deadly Flu Made Airborne (NY Times)

“This research should not have been done,” said Richard H. Ebright, a chemistry professor and bioweapons expert at Rutgers University who has long opposed such research. He warned that germs that could be used as bioweapons had already been unintentionally released hundreds of times from labs in the United States and predicted that the same thing would happen with the new virus.

“It will inevitably escape, and within a decade,” he said.