A Look Ahead: Medical Moments and Duty of Care


Last year was active when it came to notable medical events around the world, including the current coronavirus in the Middle East. There were also upticks in preventable illnesses and the H5N1 influenza.

Some of these made the list of key health issues for 2012, according to the World Health Organization.

As global travel increases, there is concern for expatriates who are being sent to unvaccinated locations as well as for those that are carriers of the diseases traveling to vaccinated countries. There was a spike in vaccine preventable illnesses such as measles, rubella and whooping cough.

On Wednesday, Feb. 13, we will take a look at medical events that will likely play out in 2013. We’ll also talk about the role of Duty of Care when it comes to protecting employees, travelers and expatriates and their families from foreseeable medical risks.

There were several other events that punctuated 2012, including three Ebola outbreaks – two in Uganda and one in the Democratic Republic of Congo. As many organizations penetrate new places for commerce, they are facing new medical risks that they have never faced previously. There were also about 30 human cases of H5N1 influenza in six countries, including nine deaths. The outbreak in birds continues to pose a threat and there is also a new variant of swine flu with some H2H spreading in the United States in 2012.

It has been more than 18 months since the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster struck Japan. The people of that area are still dealing with food contamination in the immediate area. The impact of this disaster will be felt for years to come.

With death rate of over 50-percent, the international medical community is watching the novel coronavirus situation very closely.  So far, all known infections occurred on the Arabian Peninsula – Jordan, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. How these people were infected is yet unknown. The development of the virus and its potential to cause a pandemic will be monitored closely this year. (International SOS launched a ‘Novel Coronavirus’ website last month for clients).

We hope you can join us next month as we take a look at 2013. Feel free to use the comments section here to post any questions you have.


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