Infectious disease risks stump employers

Source: Business Insurance

Gloria Gonzalez August 01, 2019 With measles cases increasing more than tenfold in the past three years, employers face a conundrum when dealing with infectious disease outbreaks creeping into the workplace. Employees sick with a contagious disease may create a health and safety hazard by coming to work, but most employers can only encourage workers to have vaccinations rather than mandate them. Workplace interactions could also give rise to workers compensation claims if employees can prove they contracted an infectious disease at work, experts say. Measles is one of the most contagious of all infectious diseases — up to nine out of 10 susceptible persons with close contact to an infected individual will develop measles, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Measles incidents have surged in 2019. Current outbreaks are linked to travelers who brought measles back from other countries such as Israel, Ukraine and the Philippines, where large measles outbreaks are occurring, according to the CDC. The disease can quickly spread in the workplace if employees have not been vaccinated, experts say.