Protecting Workers from Zika and Other Mosquito-Borne Diseases
The American Board of Industrial Hygiene® (ABIH®) reminds workers and industry of the need to educate and help to protect workers from mosquito-borne diseases.
Certified Industrial Hygienists are uniquely qualified to educate workers to minimize their exposure risks due to the Zika virus and other mosquito-borne diseases.
In January, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) activated its Emergency Operations Center and moved to a level 1 activation, the highest level, the following month. This action was taken to monitor and coordinate the CDC’s emergency response to Zika. It brings together CDC scientists with expertise in arboviruses like Zika, reproductive health, birth defects, developmental disabilities and travel health.
The World Health Organization (WHO) also recently declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). This declaration followed a recent cluster of microcephaly cases and other neurological disorders believed to be caused by the Zika virus that have been reported in Brazil, following a similar cluster in French Polynesia in 2014.
The Zika virus is transmitted to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. The CDC reports that these are the same mosquitoes that spread dengue and chikungunya viruses. People can also be infected through blood transfusions, sexual contact and from an infected pregnant woman to her fetus.
“Zika is a potential threat to people who live and work in areas where there have been recent outbreaks,” said Susan Ripple, CIH® and Chair of ABIH®. “It is also a concern for workers who have to travel to these regions as part of their employment duties and responsibilities. Because there are no vaccines at this time to prevent Zika, it’s important that employers educate their workers about prevention. The CDC recommends that people in areas known to harbor Zika wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants, use safe insect repellants and avoid contact with mosquitoes.”
Certified Industrial Hygienists are uniquely qualified to educate workers to minimize their exposure risks due to the Zika virus and other mosquito-borne diseases. Knowledge of epidemiology, health risk analysis and hazard communication, work environments and industrial processes, engineering controls and ventilation, and other core competencies inherent in the industrial hygiene profession are instrumental for protecting the health and safety of workers.
To learn more about the American Board of Industrial Hygiene®, Certified Industrial Hygienist® credential or to locate a CIH® to perform industrial hygiene services, please visit www.ABIH.org, email abih@ABIH.org or call (517) 321-2638.
About the American Board of Industrial Hygiene ®
Since 1960, ABIH®, a not-for-profit corporation, has been the world’s largest organization for certifying professionals in the practice of industrial hygiene. ABIH® is the premier credentialing body responsible for ensuring high-quality certification including education, experience, examination, certification maintenance and ethics enforcement. Currently, more than 6800 people in 32 countries are certified to use the CIH® designation.
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