Small Businesses Reacting to the Ebola Threat

by / Friday, 24 October 2014 / Published in Business Lifestyle

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The Ebola virus possesses qualities that make it a potentially major threat if not contained. According to the World Health Organization’s fact sheet on Ebola, it is a virus transmitted from wild animals to humans which then becomes transmittable from person to person via body fluids. There no known cure for Ebola, and the fatality rate for the disease can vary greatly by outbreak, from 25% to 90%. While Ebola has not become a major issue in the US, it has already killed many people in the current outbreak in East Africa, and with individuals who are either sick with the virus or have come into contact with it being reported in major cities including New York and Dallas, the media and the American public have taken a major notice of the virus, affecting small businesses and their employees in turn.

Understanding the true nature of the virus is important both for prevention and for maintaining order on a community level. Through education on the real risks of the disease, communities can react without overreacting, an important balance to strike. Small business owners in areas where Ebola has been either detected or are under containment on suspicion of infection may wish to provide their employees with fact-sheets in order to help them understand exactly what the virus is and how to avoid it.

Some businesses are seeing their sales patterns effected by the virus. In an article on ABC News, Ebola was listed as one of the current issues effecting small business owners, with case studies given depicting two opposite outcomes. One business owner saw their travel business’s bookings to Africa get chopped, with cancellations to parts of the country not currently effected by the outbreak. Conversely, business owners in medical supply have seen equipment orders skyrocket, in particular hazmat items related to the quarantining of infected persons.

Understanding virus prevention as well as the difference between real and imagined risks are essential to managing a business during a time of uncertainty. 

Photo Credit to NIAID on Flickr

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