Identified on most occasions as the flu, influenza is a highly contagious viral disease, which mostly affects the respiratory system. Most people presume that the flu only causes the extreme cold. In actual sense, the acute conditions might result in death. The disease is spread through the body fluids released while sneezing or through body contact with the fluids. The flu virus has the ability to change its physical structure. Thus, those with stronger immunity systems might not withstand the different types of viruses circulating in every season. To counter the effect on the vulnerable people, various State Health Agencies, and international communities that deal with health-related issues conduct immunization programs annually to boost the immunity system. Moreover, influenza occurs within the eight weeks of every winter and spring.
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Existing Types of Influenza Viruses
Globally, there are only three types of influenza viruses. They include Influenza viruses A, B, and C. Virus type A is mainly hosted by the aquatic birds, and their transmission might result in devastating epidemics among the poultry, thus increasing the vulnerability of the people to the infection (Sherk par. 4). In addition, it causes dangerous symptoms among humans besides being the major infectious human bacteria. Conversely, Virus type B mainly infects human beings. Unfortunately, some domesticated and sea organisms, such as ferret and seal, respectively, are prone to contamination of the virus (Occupational Safety and Health par. 7). The rate of mutation of type B is slower than that of A and does not exhibit variation in the structure. Its immunity occurs only at older ages. Finally, type C of the flu viruses infects the mammals, including humans and pigs.
The Economic Impacts and Rates of Influenza Transmission
With much time taken at workplaces, there is no surprise that they harbor infectious bacteria and viruses. According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), workplaces transmit approximately 80% of the infectious diseases while workers are shaking hands with the infected people and surfaces (Disease Control and Prevention par. 3). From the business perspective, flu infections may result in draining the level of productivity in the workplace, leading to paralysis of most business activities. As per the study conducted by the National Health Interview Survey, it estimated that nearly 200 million and 75 million days reduction in productivity and absenteeism at workplaces, respectively (Bastien 102).
In America, the infection rate stands between 6% and 21% annually. As a result, many people miss going to work, making the economy lost $12 billion annually. In Canada, the flu virus infects about 10% of the total population annually by seasonal influenza.
Effects of Influenza Transmission at the Workplace
Water fountains offer the channel of influenza transmission from the birds to humans. Notably, birds living in water are the major reservoirs for influenza, type A virus; they transmit the virus through a fecal transmission mechanism. Water fountains offer the birds habitats that harbor influenza viruses. Therefore contact with such surfaces often leads to infections of the flu. Being a highly contagious disease, the infected might accelerate the spread through handshakes, coughing, and touching the office telephones. Water fountains are always good for improving the beautification of the workplace; however, water birds might infect the water with the flu (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention par. 5).
Human contamination is likely to occur while conducting maintenance. As a result, a worker might end up passing the virus to the other workmates through contact methods. The outbreak of the virus in the workplace often affects business activities as the states order quarantine of the affected area to curb the spread of the disease.
Business Shut Down and Cut From International Links
International and various state agencies dealing with health-related issues often monitor the spread of the flu. As a disease that spread fast, it affects many business operations. For example, people shut workplaces in a bid to prevent the spread. Moreover, the disease is becoming an international concern. Outcrop of the disease in the workplace might, therefore, affect international relations of various countries as a precaution of preventing the spread from one state to another. The infected people often take work leave, thereby disorienting some of the business activities (Occupational Safety and Health par. 2).
As the infection spreads, most countries always provide a travel ban on the affected countries. These bans might lead to closure or failure of the business. Flu is a disease that requires monitoring, but waterfowl birds are also difficult to control in the workplaces, especially those with water fountains.
Influenza infection reduces the productivity of the people. Healthy workers always deliver quality works. Therefore, the occurrence of the disease weakens and encourages absenteeism among the employees. Consequently, creating a condition of the reduced labor force in the workplace and increased energy required to conduct the job that was initially done by the absent employees. The costs of curbing the spread of the disease also have an impact on the cost of production (Wilschut, McElhaney, and Palache 45).
With increasing levels of the spread of the flu, especially in the workplace, many organizations globally are taking precautionary measures to prevent the occurrence and spread of the disease. In addition, the professions are also avoiding working on areas prone to the virus, such as the water fountains. These water fountains, as elements of environmental beautification, often require the services of well-trained professionals. Professions are shifting their expertise from servicing and maintaining water fountains to “sustainable” jobs in a bid to prevent contamination with the virus from the water.
Slowing Company Growth
According to the CDC, the cost of managing this pandemic disease has been on the rise, with 15% of the total population being vulnerable to the disease annually in the United States. The economic impact of the flu expected to increase from $71.4 to $166.6 billion without the inclusion of its impact on business activities conducted within the state. Flu infections within organizations always result in damaging business brands. There are businesses specifically designed to construct the water fountains. These businesses might lose customers on the basis that the water fountains harbor the flu viruses. Moreover, the transmission of the virus through the water fountain might discourage those consumers seeking to use the fountain as a source of beautification. As a result, many people are shifting to other methods of beautification, like tree planting and flower gardens.
With a reduced number of people seeking for construction of the water fountains, businesses always opt to lay off some workers in a bid to control the cost of production. Influenza does affect not only individual businesses but also the economic condition of a country. It reduces the amount of taxes affected countries collect, thus contributing to the deteriorating economic conditions globally. Besides laying off the workers after experiencing influenza infection, the states and international communities would be monitoring the activities of the organization in a bid to prevent re-emergence of the virus (Wilschut, McElhaney, and Palache 121). These activities contribute to the decline of the organizational brand image and profitability since the consumers might avoid products and services from such organizations.
Increase in operational cost
The emergence of influenza disease in workplaces increases the organizational cost of operation. Seek leaves due to illness increases the duration of the scheduled projects. In an occurrence of influenza, while the project is on progress, the situation always causes business entities to shut down some of its operations as the infected workers seek medication. These activities often occur at the expense of organizational cost as the projects lag behind the time schedules. Furthermore, seek leaves creates a lot of stress among the works as they struggle to compensate for the lost time and productivity. Sometimes people choose to work on an overtime basis as a method of compensating the lost time with the objective of increasing their overtime bills. Even as the number of sick leaves occurs in many organizations, workers only receive payments for the number of hours they worked; as a result, most people work tirelessly to recover the time lost.
Influenza transmissions reduce labor force participation. The inability of the workers to invest in their areas of profession due to illness reduces their ability to generate economic output. Additionally, the disease transmission reduces the ability of the workers to pay their taxes from incomes as required by the law, thereby contributing to the stagnation of the county’s economic living standards. According to the Commonwealth Fund Biennial, Health Insurance Survey conducted in America in 2013, found that 68.9 million workers took sick days, which accounted for 408 million days of the work. As per the survey, the value of lost wages by the sick workers amounted to nearly $ 48 billion of the economic outcome. Upon realization of the infection, business entities might decide to quarantine the infected worker or give a compulsory sick leave.
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The transmission of the disease through water fountains in the workplace often reduces the interaction of the business with the public. Moreover, if the disease occurs in a workplace, the rate of infection is always higher, considering the rate of interaction among the employees. The sharing of the working equipment is always a major contributor to the spread of contamination levels. Workers shaking hands and closely chatting often accelerate the rate at which the disease spreads. This increases the number of workers affected with a period leading to reduction or halting of the organizational activities. As a result, the profitability of the organization tends to reduce.
Furthermore, influenza transmission contributes to the economic deterioration of a country’s economic standards as such conditions discourage foreign investors. With more workers becoming ill due to the increasing levels of infections, countries are channeling developmental and project funds to various methods of curbing the spread of the disease. The cost monitoring of the waterfowl birds also reduces the amount which the might have channeled into other projects to prevent human contamination of the disease. Contamination of the influenza viruses might as well contribute to the resignation of many workers for fear of contaminating the disease.
Considering the rates of increasing influenza transmission in the water fountain, organizations are putting measures to decrease the probability of its occurrence within the organization. Moreover, business entities are implementing policies related to Occupational Health and Safety. Influenza reduces the profitability of the businesses and the economy through damaging the organizational brand, reduction in the number of days employees go to work, and the number of revenues the states collect inform of taxes from the workers’ income. Therefore, there is a greater need to control and monitor water fountains.
Bastien, Joseph W. The Kiss of Death: Chaga’s Disease in the Americas. Salt Lake City: U of Utah Press, 1998. Print.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Influenza (Flu), causes, and impact on the people. 2009. Web.
Occupational Safety and Health. Economic consequences of chronic diseases and the economic rationale for public and private intervention. 2005. Web.
Sherk, James. Use and Abuse of the Family and Medical Leave Act: What Workers and Employers Say. 2012. Web.
Wilschut, Jan, Janet McElhaney, and Abraham Palache. Influenza. Edinburgh: Mosby Elsevier, 2006. Print.