This blog has previously explained the importance of a town's residents and business owners preparing for the possibility of a pandemic. While the winter months brought dangerous levels of the flu, another disease is causing problems for California.
With warm climates and areas suffering from drought, California is seeing an increase in residents suffering from valley fever, according to the Associated Press. Specifically, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that between 1998 and 2011, the number of valley fever cases rose by 850 percent. The disease is contracted by breathing in fungus-laced spores that have been disturbed by wind or human and animal activity, explained the news source.
"Valley fever is a very common problem here, and it devastates people's lives," Dr. Royce Johnson, professor of medicine at UCLA and chief of infectious diseases at Kern Medical Center, told the news source. "But many patients don't know about it, and some physicians are only vaguely aware of it because half of our physicians come from out of state."
Dr. Gil Chavez, Deputy Director of the Center for Infectious Diseases at the California Department of Public Health, explained that the state has trained county health departments about the fungus and the dangers it brings. California health officials said they are working to better educate the public, while also helping doctors to recognize the illness.
In situations like this, a continuity of operations plan is necessary. While an evacuation might not be the answer, it is crucial for all residents to understand what they must do to keep themselves and others safe.
To that same extent, companies in the area need to prepare for a sudden increase of employees taking sick days. A business continuity plan that accounts for pandemics will ensure that the organization can keep running, even if team members are out sick, or are caring for ill family members.