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What Do You Think?

November 07, 2009

Editor's note: The Herald-Mail invites readers to answer poll questions on its Web site, www.herald-mail.com. Readers also may submit comments when voting. A sampling of edited reader comments will run on The Herald-Mail's Opinion page on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday.

The question posted Wednesday on The Herald-Mail's Web site was: Should businesses and schools notify people when cases of H1N1 flu are suspected in their buildings?

"I can see it now - the Wal-Mart greeter says, 'Welcome to Wal-Mart, we have 10 employees with swine flu.' I think the schools should alert the parents if there are a significant number of confirmed cases within the school. With that said, why the paranoia for 'suspected' cases of swine flu? What will the business notifications accomplish when you really don't know where the germs are 100 percent of the time? How about using some brains and protecting yourself regardless of where you're at?"

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"No, they should not. This virus is already getting overhyped and increasing paranoia. Telling employees there is a potential case in the building will only cause everyone to go home and not come back for three days and the business come to a halt. Businesses should have formal training for employees on how to prevent the spread of illness, the symptoms of H1N1 and have a program that is forgiving of people who call in sick because they might have H1N1. But they should not announce it companywide."

"If you notify employees of the potential exposure, when they get sick, they will seek treatment much quicker and might save exposure to their loved ones. I understand the problem is overhyped, but I'd rather know what's going on so it is my choice how to react."

"Doctors do not test patients for this because it costs quite a bit. You are opening businesses and schools up for lawsuits if you think they should all inform everyone who has what. Individual privacy is also important. Be careful what you wish for and ask for because legally, you might be opening up a can of worms. As long as this swine flu is killing less people then the regular flu, I would be careful what you think businesses and schools should be required to report."

"There could be a considerable delay in notification of anyone because testing needs to be done on a particular patient to know if the person has H1N1 or a regular seasonal flu. By the time a person realizes that he or she has the flu, the damage in terms of infecting others might already be done. Is H1N1 infectious before symptoms set in? If so, others will already have been infected. If a case is confirmed, there would be no need to make public the victim's identity. All that would need to be known is that it was H1N1 and to know where that person worked so as to alert those likely to have been exposed."

"I understand the right to privacy. But when your health can make others sick (or kill them), it should become public knowledge to those that have come in contact with the sick person. Example: A person with AIDS has sex with different people, but doesn't tell them they have AIDS. The other person finds out after they get AIDS and sues the other person for not telling them. This has happened. I recently found out a person at a restaurant I go to has MERSA. They handle my cup, plate ... Wouldn't you love to come down with MERSA from someone that handles your food? But hey, I guess that isn't a customer's business."

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