Infectious Diseases

    The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Dec. 13, 2010, released a list of life-threatening infectious diseases to which emergency responders may be exposed. NIOSH has been tasked with developing the list along with guidelines for notifying emergency responders of potential exposures. Medical facilities, such as hospitals, will be required to notify an emergency responder if a patient transported by the responder is diagnosed with one of the listed diseases. The new requirement was authorized by the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act of 2009 (P.L. 111-87). The proposed list includes three categories of infectious diseases: those transmitted by air, body fluid or physical contact, and droplets. The diseases potentially transmitted by air are chickenpox, measles, and tuberculosis. Those that may be transmitted through body fluid or contact include hepatitis B, hepatitis C, human immunodeficiency virus, and rabies. The diseases that may be transmitted through droplets are avian influenza, diphtheria, meningitis, mumps, pneumonic plague, rubella, severe acute respiratory syndrome, smallpox, and viral hemorrhagic fever (such as Ebola, Lassa, and Marburg).
-- Read more…in Safety Guide on illness and disease
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Did you know…?
    Firefighters and paramedics are not the only workers who may be exposed to infectious diseases. During September and October 2001, letters containing anthrax bacteria were mailed to the offices of ABC News, CBS News, NBC News, The National Enquirer, The New York Post, Sen. Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) and Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.). Five people died and another 17 were infected. Federal and state agencies since have released checklists and guidelines about preparing for and handling bioterrorist attacks in the workplace.
-- You can find more on emergency planning and response in Safety Guide