A new pandemic study maintains that the majority of schools and businesses in the United States are not prepared for such a disaster. The St. Louis University study addressed both response preparedness for bioterrorism attacks and pandemics spurred by infectious disease.
The pandemic preparedness study was considered extremely timely due to the recent influenza outbreak and ongoing controversy about airborne bird flu research. The St. Louis University study was headed by professor Terri Rebmann from the College for Public Health and Social Justice, Newswise reports.
The pandemic and bioterrorism study found that American schools and businesses need to improve their biological disaster plans to minimize the impact should such a tragedy occur, Science Daily notes. An excerpt from the St. Louis University study reads:
“One of the key findings from the study was that about 60 percent businesses reported they have a policy that encourages their ill staff to stay home, but about 40 percent responded that the business has a culture that encourages staff to work when they are sick. There’s a disconnect between written policies versus what the business culture encourages. This can contribute to disease spread in the business setting, especially among healthcare agencies.”
St. Louis University researchers also concluded that only 48 percent of schools address pandemic preparedness. A total of only 40 percent of schools have reportedly updated their pandemic and bioterrorism plans since in the past four years. The study sites the 2009 H1N1 pandemic which spread the virus to more than 214 countries worldwide.
Influenza reportedly spread quickly in the school environment due to how closely students and staff interact. The St. Louis University pandemic and bioterrorism study was published in the American Journal of Infection Control.
Do you feel America is prepared for a pandemic of bioterrorism disaster?
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