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Noro alert for oysters 🦪⚠️

The Executive Briefing - Tuesday, June 13th

Health News:

  • The FDA advises restaurants not to serve or sell certain raw oysters from Dai One Food Co., which are contaminated with norovirus. Shipped from Korea, they’ve been distributed to Hawaii, Georgia, and Minnesota. (FDA)
  • In an unrelated oyster incident, a man died after eating raw oysters from a seafood stand near St. Louis. They were contaminated with Vibrio. (CBS)
  • An intense flu season in Australia could be a bad sign for the US this winter. (CNN)
  • Billions of dollars were wasted or stolen in pandemic fraud, and the statute of limitations was extended to 10 years to give the government time to find fraudsters. (AP)
  • The coronavirus has made itself at home in animals. That increases the risks for humans as the odds of spillback - and new variants - rise. (LA Times)
  • Top health officials are calling for more research on how fentanyl test strips can be better used to help prevent overdoses. (STAT)
  • Noise exposure can take years off your life - literally. It increases heart attack, stroke, and hypertension risk. (NY Times)
  • Salad mixes from an Indianapolis company called Fresh Location were recalled after many had metal in the bags. (Indy Star)
  • Orange County, FL has issued a mosquito advisory after cases of Eastern Equine Encephalitis were found in local chickens. (WUSF)
  • Employees who have to work outdoors are exposed to extreme heat in Florida summers. (Miami Herald)
  • Dozens of NH students and staff were sickened by toxic styrene emissions from a nearby sewer repair project. (USA Today)
  • An outbreak of dengue in Peru has sickened 200,000 people and killed 200. It was heightened by El Niño rains which create ripe breeding grounds for mosquitos. (Fox)

Mental Health News:

  • About 15% of US children sought mental health care in 2021. (CNN)
  • Southern US states carried the brunt of mental health troubles during the pandemic. (CIDRAP)

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:

What’s going on with the Cyclosporiasis outbreak? Have they identified a food source yet?

There’s an ongoing investigation by the CDC that we first reported on in late May. Cases spread across 14 states, with 97 total illnesses and 16 people hospitalized. Cyclosporiasis is an illness caused by the single-celled parasite Cyclospora cayetanensis, and outbreaks often increase in the summer. The primary symptom is watery diarrhea, which can persist for weeks. A source still hasn’t been identified, partly because symptoms can take up to two weeks to develop, making traceback harder. Outbreaks in the US are often linked to fresh produce, and past culprits have included basil, cilantro, lettuce, snow peas, and raspberries. That said, sick people are 71% female, with a median age of 48, and we’re hearing rumors that raw broccoli might be the leading suspect right now. If you serve raw broccoli - or any raw produce for that matter - be sure to ramp up your handwashing and wash the produce thoroughly.

Source: CDC

What can we do to prevent the spread of Cyclospora?

Ensure that employees are washing their hands and washing any fresh produce before prep. Preventing cross-contamination by properly washing cutting boards, counters, and utensils is crucial. Proper cold holding temps are also key to ensuring that prepped or cooked food doesn’t have a chance for Cyclospora to propagate; refrigerate cut, peeled, or cooked produce as soon as possible, and within two hours. And of course, exclude employees who have diarrhea from work. Cyclospora needs a week or two after being passed in a bowel movement to become infectious for others, so it’s not actually an illness that’s typically spread directly from person to person, but it’s still important to ensure that employees aren’t working while they have diarrhea. This is especially true if the employee recently returned from travel to a tropical region, where cyclosporiasis is endemic.

Source: CDC

If I have a cold and test negative for COVID, do I need to test further to find out what virus I have?

Generally, no, unless you’re immunocompromised. While testing has become more common in the wake of COVID, there are still hundreds of viruses that circulate each year that don’t have simple tests. Even flu testing generally requires going to a clinic or doctor’s office, though one at-home test is available. But for most colds and even the flu, there’s no need to get tested unless you need to seek medical attention due to your symptoms. Stay home when sick, until you’re at least 24 hours fever-free and all your symptoms are improving. If you test positive for flu or COVID, stay home for five days. In the end, knowing what type of cold virus you have doesn’t make all that much difference, since you should stay home when you’re sick either way.

Source: NBC

What’s going on with the southern hemisphere’s flu season?

Here in the northern hemisphere, we look to the southern hemisphere to anticipate trends in our upcoming fall and winter flu season. In Australia, flu season started early this year, and cases are higher than the five-year average, though that includes some pandemic years where flu cases were kept very low due to pandemic precautions. Kids in particular seem to be getting sick, more so than other age groups. We will continue to keep an eye on the flu patterns down in the southern hemisphere as their season continues, and expect US patterns to match the overarching ones we see there, though it’s still early to predict confidently based on these initial trends. There are concerns that general anti-vaccine sentiment here in the US will lead to lower flu shot uptake, creating the potential for a rough flu season.

Source: CNN

Best Read

The Explosive Legacy of the Pandemic Hand Sanitizer Boom | WIRED

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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.