Just how concerned should U.S. employers be about protecting their employees from the Ebola virus? That depends largely upon the industry you're in – at least for now.

World health authorities are already declaring Ebola a worldwide catastrophe in the making, comparing it to the HIV contagion of three decades ago. Their concern is twofold: no vaccine exists against it, and travelers can (so far) export the virus from one part of the world to another with little chance of detection.

Immediately, several job descriptions are being targeted for prevention measures:

  • All health care classifications;
  • Funeral and mortuary workers;
  • Laboratory workers;
  • Humanitarian workers;
  • Airline and airport workers; and
  • First responders.

Because of the relative ease with which the virus can be transported and transmitted, many experts are advising all employers to at least take note of the potential for the disease to enter their work environment and to begin by talking about it with employees.

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Dan Cook

Dan Cook is a journalist and communications consultant based in Portland, OR. During his journalism career he has been a reporter and editor for a variety of media companies, including American Lawyer Media, BusinessWeek, Newhouse Newspapers, Knight-Ridder, Time Inc., and Reuters. He specializes in health care and insurance related coverage for BenefitsPRO.