Tag Archives: SARS

MERS from camels: like bird flu meets norovirus

Camel girl
Not nice for animals, not nice for us – and it’s spreading

The word is “zoonotic”.

That’s a disease that jumps to us from animals.  Ebola is one, HIV is another. So is SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), remember that?

From birds, from monkeys, all kinds of living things.

None of them are nice.

Another coronavirus

And all of them have no cure when they first happen. People die, and the medics go into overdrive, looking for effective treatment.

Right now the alarm bells are ringing for MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome), a new coronavirus thought to have started with bats and somehow transferred to camels.

Since first encountered in 2012, most cases have been in the Arabian peninsula – the camel connection.

The panic now is that it’s suddenly jumped to South Korea.  Which is of course the problem with all modern illnesses. A few hours on a Boeing and they could wind up anywhere.

Two in one

MERS is particularly nasty – a virus with two sets of symptoms for the price of one.

Like most respiratory illnesses, it feels like flu – fever, coughing and shortness of breath. The unwanted bonus is like norovirus – nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea.

If complications set in, pneumonia and kidney failure follow. And of course, dehydration. 3 – 4 out of every 10 who catch it die – a mortality rate of one-third.

Not to be played with. So if ever there was a spur to tighten up personal hygiene, this is it. Even camels can succumb to lack of fluids.

A good stimulus is to remember that schoolboy chestnut, “beware the camel spits.”

MERS is catching

Right there is one of the ways that MERS transmits – though the air from someone coughing or sneezing. Droplets from any kind of body fluid are a real danger.

The other way would be cuddling up to a camel, or someone unlucky enough to have MERS.

And not even a cuddle – a handshake will do it, or even borrowing a pen to sign something.

Touch your mouth, nose or eyes after that – and most of us do it 3,000 times a day – and you could already be at risk.

Hidden threat

You see, you can’t tell someone has MERS when it starts. It takes around ten days for the symptoms to show themselves. (Tweet this) The downer is that it’s contagious all of that time.

During which you’ve caught the plane, done your sales meeting, enjoyed the celebratory banquet, flown home again – and been in time for your daughter’s stage debut in the school ballet. So how many people did you glad-hand in that little jaunt?

Wash Hands LogoPersonal hygiene

You got it – wash your hands at every opportunity. Before food, after the loo – and whenever you can after touching somebody or something from outside your usual circle of living.

The other defence is to safeguard your immediate environment.

Not the great outdoors of course, but the enclosed spaces we all share – lots of us all together, moving in the same space, using the same things, breathing the same air – at work, at school, at places where we eat and relax.

Sterilised surroundings

HypersteriliserBefore we get there, all viruses and bacteria that may be present are destroyed with a Hypersteriliser. A fine mist of hydrogen peroxide plasma penetrates everywhere and actively oxidises them to nothing. So when we walk in through the door, the place is sterile.

Two defences – against a two-faced virus with serious implications if we don’t keep watchful.

Get lost, MERS.

Not “how do you do?” But “good riddance”.

Originally posted 2015-06-04 11:31:50.

Better health, better productivity, better profits – and you’re still dragging heels over daily germ protection?

Thinking exec
Decisions, decisions – not hard when you think of the money getting rid of germs can make

Going to wait till a headache and scratchy throat slow your own productivity?

Or dump the whole idea because you’ve never done it before, so why start now?

Besides, since you’ve already actioned generous sick pay, what do germs have to do with it?

Let’s go back to your headache.

Like, how’s your business brain functioning with all that pounding? Difficult to concentrate when your mind’s like boiled knitting – but the job’s time-sensitive, so you’ve got to decide now.

Uh huh. And how good is the quality of that decision? How good is the quality of anything if you’re unwell at work? You’re not yourself, your reflexes are shot, you’re loose cannon more than asset. How long before you do some real damage?

Unwell at work costs money

Extreme thinking maybe, but you can see it happening.

Unwell at work is way more hazardous than booking off sick – and happens ten times more often. 57.5 days a year on average – and that’s per staff member. Nearly THREE WORKING MONTHS.

You’re paying twelve month salaries – but against 57.5 days of unwell at work, staff can only deliver nine. The rest of the time they’re at their desks,  battling to go through the motions. 50% productivity or less – how much business sense is that?

OK, maybe their illness came from outside, but why take chances?

Sitting there, they’re going to spread it around – coughs, sneezes, or simply handling the same documents. Pretty soon the whole place will come down with the same thing. A couple of the weaker ones off sick maybe, but most of them heroes, soldiering on.

Inevitable really, with professionally revved-up people working close together, sharing the same office space, breathing the same air. All concentrated nicely where germs can find the most victims and spread most effectively.

But at what cost in mistakes, lost business, slipped quality standards or missed deadlines?

Invisible losses – all unnecessary

All of which you’re paying for – so heroes they might be, they might as well not be there. At a cost of ten times your absenteeism allowance, however generous. Plus money down the tubes from unwanted screw-ups.

And all largely preventable – just by getting rid of the germs.

All of them in your workplace – viruses, bacteria, fungi, mould, the lot – 99.9999% of them, oxidised to nothing.  Gone completely – from all surfaces, the walls, the floor, the ceiling – the air itself.

Taken out everywhere by omni-dispersing hydrogen peroxide mist – the same stuff our own bodies produce to fight infection.

Sure, there’ll still be staff who bring in their own. Bugs picked up from dropping the kids at school, collywobbles from touching the grab handles on the tube.

But in their place of work, when they come in every morning, the whole place is sterile. A germ-free zero threshold where they’re safe and secure.

Safe from the minor illnesses that slow them down and impair their judgement.

And safe from more serious bugs, like SARS or legionnaire’s disease – both notifiable diseases and your legal duty to protect them against.  With heavy fines or even prison awaiting if you don’t.

Feel-good dividend

Plus there’s the upside.

With no germs to slow them down, staff can now turn in a full year’s productivity instead of nine months – up by a third at no extra cost to you, it’s already part of their pay packets.

On top of which is the feel-good factor – the tidal wave of get-up-and-go that happens when close colleagues all vibe well together – healthy, positive and wanting to achieve.

A few hundred quid on your regular cleaning bill – and you’ve not just rescued productivity, you’ve shot it into orbit. In efficiency alone you’re ahead of the game – and how good is that going to look on your balance sheet?

So – germ protection, yeah? Keeping your staff healthy. Your legal duty and serious business sense.

Are you going to sit around thinking some more, or grab yourself some profits?

Picture Copyright: lighthunter / 123RF Stock Photo