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Now is the perfect time for your business to roleplay a pandemic

The Executive Briefing - Tuesday, June 6th

Health News:

  • Univ. of Minnesota scientists are warning of the increased likelihood of chronic wasting disease (CWD) transmitting to humans. CWD is a prion disease like mad cow that affects deer and elk in the US. (MPR)
  • More than 175 passengers and crew on a Celebrity Cruises ship got norovirus, their third outbreak of the year. (Today)
  • More than 70% of household COVID spread in the US started with a child. (CIDRAP)
  • With only 20% of US adults up to date on boosters, most may have "relatively little remaining protection" against COVID unless they’ve recently been ill. (Fox)
  • 9 million Americans skip medications they need due to costs, with women more likely to skip than men. (NBC)
  • A Maryland resident has a confirmed case of measles, the state’s first case of the infectious disease since 2019. (CNN)
  • As part of their anti-COVID protocol, Tour de France organizers have banned riders and team staff from signing autographs and eating outside of their hotels. (Reuters)
  • A couple contracted Hepatitis A after dining at a restaurant; they just settled a lawsuit for $5.5 million. (VA Lawyers Weekly)
  • J&J shots are no longer authorized in the US. (Bloomberg)
  • A Tacoma woman has now been arrested for refusing tuberculosis treatment for more than a year. (NPR)
  • A study of Brazilian healthcare workers showed that 27% developed long COVID after infection. (CIDRAP)
  • Noro was likely responsible for sickening dozens of swimmers and closing a Minnesota beach. (MPR)
  • A new pill reduces the risk of dying after lung cancer surgery by a whopping 51%. (The Guardian)

Mental Health News:

  • Cities cite mental health, loneliness, and depression as their top policy concerns. (Bloomberg)
  • Apple will add mental health features to track mood and offer insights on their watch and iOS devices. (Fierce Healthcare)
  • The mental health crisis is hurting America’s workforce, but we only have enough therapists for 7% of the population. (Fortune)

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 chronic wasting disease the same as mad cow? Should we be worried about a jump to humans?

Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a fatal neurological disease that affects deer and elk, including those here in the US. Like mad cow, it’s a prion disease that affects proteins in the brain. It’s not the same exact illness as mad cow, but the concerns about it spreading to humans through eating infected meat are similar, as are its neurological effects on deer. What’s scary about prion diseases is that it’s not a normal pathogen - not bacteria or virus causing the illness, but rather a misfolded protein that instructs other proteins to misfold, as well. But if an animal dies of this disease, the rogue proteins can actually spread to the soil or plants nearby, furthering the spread. Normal disinfecting doesn’t work against this disease. The University of Minnesota is launching a major research project to help prepare, and they hope to advance testing for hunters to test deer carcasses, and for humans in the case that it spreads. In short, this is something that gives us pause. There’s nothing that individual companies or people need to do just yet unless you’re hunting deer, but we’re keeping a close eye and grateful for the U of M team doing this important research.

Source: Minnesota Public Radio

Should we be offering Narcan training or encouraging our employees to get trained in their communities?

If you’re considering stocking naloxone (brand name Narcan) in your first aid kits, then we definitely recommend training for those who might be expected to administer it. Most naloxone training is short. Actually administering the nasal spray is very simple, so most of the training tends to be about identifying overdoses, checking for responsiveness, and calling 911. We know that the decision to add naloxone is a challenging one with thorny legal and operational issues. Even if you don’t plan on having naloxone on-location, the opioid epidemic is widespread - if you know of free community training nearby, it could be useful to share information on that along with any other mental and physical health services in the community, even if it’s just to arm your team with knowledge for outside of the workplace.

Source: NY.gov

What is THC-O, and should we be worried if employees are taking it?

THC-O is a synthetic cannabinoid product that’s becoming popular in the US as an alternative to marijuana. Like Delta-8 and other synthetic products, it’s usually in the form of a vape or edibles. Some assume it’s legal, though the DEA warned in February that because it’s totally synthetic, it doesn’t fall into the farm law that allows hemp products to be sold legally in the US. So, THC-O should fall under your marijuana policy but doesn’t pose any unique health risks for restaurants.

Source: USA Today

Best Read:

Now is the Perfect Time to Role Play a Pandemic | The Atlantic

Note: ZHH can help organize and lead tabletop exercises for foodborne illness outbreaks and pandemics. Let us know if this is something you’re interested in by replying to this email or reaching out in the app.

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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.