Want to receive The Executive Briefing directly to your inbox? Subscribe here!
You've been subscribed!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Back to GetZedic.com

GI illnesses rising, heat stroke & more

The Executive Briefing - Friday, July 14th, 2023

Health News:

  • 581 cases of Cyclosporiasis are confirmed by the CDC, more than doubling the numbers they had last week, though still below the 1000+ cases seen last summer. (CDC)
  • An outbreak of Salmonella Berta has sickened 6 people in the Seattle area. (King County HD)
  • The CDC announced its “Bridge Access” plan to make COVID vaccines free for uninsured people this fall. (CDC)
  • Deer have spread COVID to humans many times, including at least 3 times when humans spread it to deer, who spread it back to humans. (CIDRAP)
  • Excessive drinking during the pandemic led to increased alcoholic liver disease death rates. (KFF Health)
  • A new UN report highlights the Black maternal health crisis across the western hemisphere, including in the US. (Washington Post)
  • Maine workers will get up to 12 weeks of paid family or medical leave starting in 2026. (AP)
  • The FDA approved the first over-the-counter birth control pill. (STAT)
  • Experts on infectious disease testified before Congress about the threat of superbugs and antibiotic resistance. (STAT)
  • NYC is considering indoor air quality mandates after COVID and wildfire smoke brought attention to the issue. (WSJ)
  • It’s not just wildfire smoke - FL and TX air quality is impacted by a major Saharan dust storm originating in Africa. (Washington Post)
  • Flu and RSV activity in the Southern Hemisphere and Central America is rising in some areas, with very high levels in Costa Rica, and more than expected in Mexico for this time of year. (CIDRAP)
  • A potential UPS strike could have wide-ranging impacts on shipping. From a public health angle, that includes delaying getting samples to labs which may slow reporting. (Reuters)

Mental Health News: 

  • As little as 20 minutes of moderate exercise 5x per week can significantly lower the risk of depression for people with chronic conditions like diabetes or heart disease. (CNN)
  • One year into the 988 hotline, staff are proud but need support, including better staffing, more funding, and robust mental health response teams. (STAT)
  • Many people are still unaware of the 988 hotline. (Philadelphia Inquirer)
  • A radical new model for psychiatric ER care seems to be working. (New Yorker)

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

Is everyone else seeing increased GI illness right now? 

Yes! We first saw a spike in vomiting and diarrhea illnesses in mid-June. It’s been slowly increasing, even after the July 4th holiday, indicating that there’s sustained community spread of GI illnesses. Within the ZHH wellness check program, we’ve seen hotspots in Arizona, Ohio, Minnesota, and Florida. Cases of norovirus on cruise ships are continuing to increase, as well, which is a good indicator that it’s circulating on land, too. Focus on handwashing and reminding employees not to work if they’ve had diarrhea or vomiting or if someone else in their household has noro-like symptoms.

Sources: ZHH, CDC

What should we know about heat stroke during this massive heatwave? 

The high temperatures right now are unprecedented. Phoenix is on its second week in a row of 110+ degree days, with no signs of stopping. It’s important to highlight just how extreme these temperatures are for human bodies. Some temps in the US are at or above the maximum that young, healthy bodies can tolerate. Heat illness can cause heart problems (including cardiac arrest), kidney issues, and muscle breakdown.  

Water and rest are crucial for preventing heat illness. If someone is dizzy or faint, sweating heavily, and feeling weak or nauseous, they should immediately move to a cool place, drink water, and use cooling cloths to lower their body temp. If someone has signs of heat stroke - they pass out or have a body temp of 103 degrees or higher, a fast and strong pulse, confusion, dizziness, and/or hot, red skin - call 911 and get immediate medical attention, since heat stroke can be fatal even for otherwise healthy people. If you’re in a heatwave, consider printing this poster from the CDC outlining what to look for and what to do for each type of heat illness. 

Sources: Axios, CDC

How worried should we be about deer-to-human spillover in terms of a new variant like Omicron? 

A new study shows that there have been hundreds of confirmed cases of spillover between humans and deer in the US. Most were human to deer, sometimes then spreading within the deer population, but at least three were spread from humans to deer and then back again. That poses a major risk for new variants evolving in deer and then spreading back to humans, and any of those might change in a way that makes them more infectious, more deadly, or a combination of the two. So, continued monitoring of deer populations is key. But we’re not panicking just yet, because most mutations since Omicron haven’t drastically changed transmissibility or severity. Is it possible? Absolutely. Should we be prepared for additional surges of COVID fueled by variant mutations? Yes! Do we think it’s imminent or catastrophic? No, at least not now. We do think you should have pandemic plans in place for the next pandemic, which we expect will be in our lifetime. Whether it’s from deer, bats, ticks, or fungus remains to be seen, but the combo of globalization, climate change, and antibiotic resistance means it’s likely that we’ll see another big one in our lifetimes. 

Source: CIDRAP

Best Read:

The U.S. Scientist At the Heart of COVID-19 Lab Leak Conspiracies Is Still Trying to Save the World From the Next Pandemic - TIME

Share this article:

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.