Catherine Makison (Health & Safety Laboratory)
During an outbreak of human infectious disease, the numbers affected will vary depending on the disease, location, susceptible population size, environment etc. When disease numbers exceed a set threshold for that illness it is considered to be of epidemic proportion, i.e., disproportionate to the norm. The in 2020 is an example of such an epidemic.
This article gives examples of micro-organisms that can cause disease of epidemic scale and how they are transmitted. It focuses on occupational health during an epidemic and how some industries, such as healthcare, are more susceptible to worker ill health than others. It covers infection prevention and control by good work and hygiene practices and using personal protective equipment.