Infectious Diseases: Converting Your Pandemic Plan Into an Infectious Disease & Pandemic Guide
Due to extensive demand for pandemic planning services since the arrival of 2019nCoV – we are offering two options for assistance in building out a plan: EMSS can either write your complete plan or provide a template and coaching and you complete it yourself. Contact us for more information.
All Planners are aware of the need for a Pandemic Plan but there is a more useful way to view this important document – Create an Infectious Disease & Pandemic Guide. There are two major reasons for converting a pandemic plan into a combination infectious disease AND pandemic plan. A combination plan:
- Can emphasize that diseases, by their very nature, are local and can impact your business/region.
- Can highlight that common diseases can severely impact your business and are far more likely to happen. A disease doesn’t have to be something “unusual” to cause problems running your organization.
First, let’s make sure we are all speaking the same language. A few definitions:
- Infectious diseases are caused by pathogenic microorganisms, such as bacteria, viruses, parasites or fungi; the diseases can be spread, directly or indirectly, from one person to another.
- Pandemic: A disease outbreak occurring over a wide geographic area and affecting an exceptionally high proportion of the population.
- Zoonotic diseases are infectious diseases of animals that can cause disease when transmitted to humans.
In recent times we have had major outbreaks of these common illnesses in communities, schools and businesses:
- Whooping cough
- Drug-resistant TB
This is in addition to the more exotic diseases such as:
- Zika virus
Disease plans are much different than a business continuity or crisis management plan. Why?
These plans should be written without specifics about what should be done for each possible illness. This is because diseases can shift and change; what works or is done today may not be appropriate when an outbreak occurs. Medical treatments and preventive measures change based on the disease morphing. And lastly and perhaps more importantly, you do not control your destiny or your responses in a serious disease outbreak. The local Department of Public Health is the controlling authority. They have the ability to invoke Public Health Law, which allows them to control your response and they can and will issue instructions, orders and dictates (as necessary) based on the illness.
Infectious diseases can break out at any time. In this day and age where vaccination levels are at an all-time low in some countries and regions, it is only a matter of time before the local Health Department calls you to notify you that you have an employee in your call center with measles. Or perhaps an employee comes into your office advising you of their symptoms after returning from a trip abroad or the Avian flu in the China turns into a deadly pandemic strain. Any of these possibilities are a real and viable threat. Get started now!