Zika – Can We Predict the Next Pandemic Outbreak? (Pt 1)

Risk Institute Portraits Fisher Hall - Third Floor Feb-02-2016 Photo by Jay LaPrete ©2016 Jay LaPrete

By  Philip S. Renaud II, MS, CPCU
Executive Director, The Risk Institute
The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business


The World Health Organization (WHO) and other health organizations have called for top level meetings to address the Zika virus and its worldwide impact. Researchers first discovered the virus nearly 70 years ago. Very few cases were reported until 2007 when an outbreak on Yap Island in Micronesia infected nearly 70% of the population ages three years and older. The WHO has warned that the virus could potentially spread to every country in the Americas.

Companies need to focus on how they can mitigate the risk of Zika within the workplace. Does your company have employees in infected regions?


Image courtesy of Pan American Health Organization and WHO. Click for more info.

Do you have employees that travel to infected regions? Central to risk mitigation for any employer is to learn as much as possible about Zika and its potential impact to your organization.  Employers need to be flexible. Consideration should be given to delaying trips to infected areas, holding virtual meetings, etc.

An organization’s business continuity plans will need to be tested to respond to geographic specific exposure that could have wider impact upon the business and it customers.

On June 13th, The Risk Institute will host guest speakers, Julie E. Mangino MD, FSHEA (Division of Infectious Diseases, The Ohio State University, and Department of Epidemiology, OSUWMC), Professor Steve Rissing (Department of Evolution, Ecology and Organismal Biology, The Ohio State University), Nancy Green CPCU, ARM (Executive VP, Aon Risk Solutions) and Thomas E. Hopkins (Sr. VP Human Resources (retired), The Sherwin–Williams Company) will collaborate to provide insight into:

  • How evolutionary biology provides a road map into eruptions of Zika and other similar viruses.
  • The facts about the spread of the Zika virus and how to mitigate the fear factor.
  • The facts about prevention, treatment and links to specific birth defects.
  • How to prepare your business for Zika and other pandemic viruses, including business travel concerns.

This first session of our 2016-2017 Executive Education Risk Series will emphasize how to proactively use risk management to balance the risks related to Zika and wider pandemic planning in order to meet business goals and enhance business performance.

The session will provide thought provoking ideas and advance The Risk Institute’s unique role in uniting industry thought leaders, academics and highly respected practitioners in an ongoing dialog to advance the understanding and evolution of risk management. The Risk Institute’s conversation about risk management is open and collaborative with its relevance across all industries and its potential for competitiveness and growth.


On June 13, 2016, The Risk Institute at The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business will present the first session of its 2016-2017 Executive Education Risk Series, Zika – Can We Predict the Next Pandemic Outbreak? For more information, or to register, please visit http://go.osu.edu/Zika-u-osu.