The Good News is Ebola has not detected in the UK, yet.

The current outbreak in West Africa is said to be the worst to date with 887 known to have died from the disease although this may have been severely underestimated. Although Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia are known  to have born the brunt of this outbreak there has been a further strain identified in the Philippines.

There are two principal issues in detecting and managing this disease which employers should not be ignorant of. The first is that there is a variable incubation period (the time elapsed from contact, known or otherwise, and displaying symptoms) which varies between two days and three weeks.

The second problem is that the symptoms are not at all specific and include sudden onset fevers, profound weakness, muscle pain and a sore throat; followed by vomiting, diarrhoea and both internal and external bleeding. The first wave of symptoms can be common in Autumn and Winter months in the UK as normal viruses spread through the population. Given that a temperature followed by further non-specific symptoms in October may have been caused by contact in September, not necessarily with an infected human but an infected animal, employers should be aware but not panic.

Occupational Health Screening

Occupational health experts need to be ever more mindful that employees are more and more globally mobile and will mix with holiday makers and co-workers from all over the World and not necessarily in an area where problems are identified.

I doubt that the UK’s productivity will nose dive as a result of Ebola but imagine if there was a case in the food industry for example, the consumers would leave and never return for that product. HR advisers should simply bear in mind that whilst a flu-type illness may be just that, consideration should be given to what measures should be put in place if ever a sick note for Ebola is provided. With such a public fear over this disease there will be no excuse for an employer who has not considered appropriate measures.

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Dr Grant Charlesworth-Jones

Dr. Charlesworth-Jones not only holds dual qualifications in both medicine and law but also continues to practice both.

He is up to date with the latest medical education and the most recent legal cases and understands what you need from an expert witness probably more so than any medical expert witness or legal expert. Dr. Charlesworth-Jones, whilst qualified in two professional disciplines, understands his role as an expert and never strays beyond that when he is instructed as an expert.

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