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Severity

The Court was rightly concerned with the severity of the disease. This would be judged as a function of the morbidity of the disease, the duration of the disease, and whether the disease has permanent sequelae. It is important to note when the characteristics of the organism and the patient can increase the severity of the disease. Diseases such as influenza are mildly incapacitating in healthy workers but could be dangerous to the residents of a nursing home. The legal significance of a conversion to a positive tuberculosis skin test is uncertain. Active tuberculosis requires a long period of treatment and monitoring; there are potentially serious complications to the treatment and some persons do not respond to treatment.

While HIV is very serious for all infected persons, the complications of many communicable diseases are equally serious in a smaller percentage of cases. A small percentage of HBV-infected persons develop fulminant liver failure and die. A larger number become chronic carriers. These carriers have a high probability of developing liver cancer and may be limited in certain workplace activities such as performing invasive medical procedures. Childhood diseases can have devastating effects on adults.


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