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Extreme heat, noro, HIV & more this week

The Executive Briefing - Friday, July 21st

Health News:

  • People are dying and getting second-degree burns from extreme heat in the US. (NBC)
  • The US suspended the Wuhan Institute of Virology’s funding over failure to produce safety documents during the investigation into COVID’s origins. (Bloomberg)
  • A new strain of fentanyl called fluorofentanyl was found in dozens of overdose deaths in San Francisco, the medical examiner warns. (SF Chronicle)
  • A 7th locally-acquired malaria case was identified in South Florida. (AP)
  • Cases of dengue are reaching historic highs as global temps warm, the WHO warns. (Reuters)
  • Campylobacter, or “Campy,” is increasingly antibiotic resistant. (OFID)
  • San Jose’s water utility failed to report a positive E. coli test at one of its wells. (Mercury News)
  • The FDA ended the investigation into the deadly morel mushroom outbreak in Montana without identifying a specific pathogen. 51 people were ill, and 2 died. (FDA)
  • Extreme heat increases healthcare costs by $1 billion in an ‘ominous trajectory.’ (Mercury News)
  • A new study found a genetic mutation that explains why some people never get COVID symptoms when they’re infected. It’s due to a quick immune response rather than actually dodging the virus. (SF Chronicle)
  • A rising number of overdose deaths involve mixing opioids with stimulants like cocaine or meth. (Washington Post)
  • Global wastewater surveillance could have stopped the pandemic, a Northeastern University researcher says. (NGN)
  • A YouTube ad showing Donald Trump endorsing COVID vaccines boosted vaccination rates in Republican counties, avoiding an estimated 839 deaths. (MedPage Today)
  • An outbreak of up to 6 botulism cases in Spain was linked to packaged Spanish tortillas, or potato omelets, sold at grocery stores. (El Mundo)

Mental Health News:

  • Minneapolis's behavioral crisis response team is succeeding, despite a lack of support from the city. (MPR)
  • When in-state call centers are busy, 988 calls are routed out of state, where counselors may be less familiar with local resources. That said, 97% of calls are de-escalated on the phone and don’t need urgent in-person intervention. (Axios)
  • One mom owed over $100,000 for her son’s stay in a state mental hospital. (NPR)

If you or someone you know may be considering suicide or need help, call 988 or message the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741.

Best Questions

An employee was sent to the doctor because of heat exhaustion. When can they return to work?

We’re glad you encouraged the employee to seek medical attention - heat exhaustion and heat stroke are real threats to employee health, especially as we’re seeing parts of the US enter their third week of 110+ degree temperatures. Generally, heat exhaustion can be treated by cooling and hydration. If they feel up to working, they can work as soon as the next day but should take precautions to stay cool and hydrated if they do.
Source: Mayo Clinic

Are you seeing norovirus outbreaks anywhere other than cruise ships?

Yes, though most are smaller and involve more community spread than the acute outbreaks we see on cruises, where there’s nowhere to go and ample opportunity for the virus to spread unchecked. The ZHH clinical team is seeing increased reports of noro-like illness, especially in Arizona and Texas, which may be related to the heat waves and more close contact in enclosed spaces, including shelters. While national reporting tends to lag, we are seeing a bit of an uptake from those data in the Midwest region for July. There’s also a noro alert related to imported oysters from Canada, though cases related to that appear to be very low thus far.
Source: NREVSS

An employee just told us that they’re HIV positive. What steps do we need to take?

Learn about HIV and the stigma associated with it. Keep the employee’s experience front and center, and treat them with respect and care. Employees with HIV are protected under the ADA. Workplace transmission of HIV is incredibly rare, even if blood is involved. Even getting stuck with a needle used by someone with HIV has less than a 1% chance of transmission. That’s not to say you shouldn’t exercise caution, but we want to reassure you that there are very few situations outside of healthcare where workplace transmission is likely to happen. You should always assume blood and other body fluids are infectious and wear gloves and goggles when cleaning up blood, vomit, or any other body fluids. If the extremely unlikely situation occurs where an employee is exposed to HIV at work, get them medical attention right away, as post-exposure prophylaxis can reduce the risk of getting infected, and every hour counts. Then, call ZHH and your health department for follow-up. It is far more likely that your managers only need to support the employee and help create an inclusive workplace.
Source: CDC

Best Watch:

How the FDA Uses Traceback to Respond to Foodborne Illness Outbreaks | FDA YouTube (2. 5 minutes)

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Disclaimer: This post is meant for general information and educational purposes only and does not constitute, and is not intended as, any form of medical, legal or regulatory advice or a recommendation or suggestion regarding the same.  No recipient of this information should act or refrain from acting on the basis of this information without first seeking legal advice from counsel in the relevant jurisdiction.