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The Executive Briefing - Tuesday, April 18th

Rapid salmonella tests? Yes, please!

Health News:

  • The FDA announced that those 65+ and people with certain immune disorders can get a second bivalent booster dose this spring. (FDA)
  • The ongoing Adderall shortage is causing issues for patients whose lives are disrupted. (WSJ)
  • A large multi-country listeria outbreak was linked to trout in Germany, Austria, Denmark, and Switzerland. (NIH)
  • A new study found that nearly half of healthcare workers surveyed worked while they had COVID symptoms. Half of those who worked sick had highly specific COVID symptoms like loss of smell. (McKnights)
  • There’s a second case of dengue in the Miami area. (CIDRAP)
  • 87% of mpox deaths in the US were black men, and nearly all had weakened immune systems. (CDC)
  • Subvariant XBB.1.16 (known as ‘Arcturus’) which has been dominant in India has reached the US, where it’s causing conjunctivitis, or pink eye. (SF Chronicle)
  • As pandemic emergencies end, people with long COVID feel ‘swept under the rug.’ (KFF News)
  • One person has died in the fungal outbreak at a Michigan paper mill that sickened over 100. (NBC)
  • One person has died and 45 have become ill in a Salmonella outbreak in Canada linked to pet snakes and the rodents used to feed them. (Toronto Star)
  • A new rapid test could potentially check for Salmonella in raw meat. (Gizmodo)

Mental Health News:

  • Social media’s impact on mental health is complicated. (USA Today)
  • As gun violence reaches record highs, an underlying, collective trauma may be building up nationwide. (CNN)
  • Some companies are giving employees PTO for when life gets stressful as a tactic to retain employees. (Wall Street Journal)

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

Best Questions:

What are the latest guidelines for booster doses?

Just today, the FDA announced that certain groups are eligible for a second updated booster dose. Those 65 and older and people with certain kinds of immunocompromise are eligible for a second bivalent dose, but the vast majority of Americans are still just eligible for one single dose of the updated bivalent booster. If you’re 65 and up, you can get a second updated booster at least four months after your first. If you are immunocompromised, you can get another updated booster at least two months after your first, and can continue to get additional doses at the discretion of your doctor. Still, only about one in five eligible Americans have gotten their updated booster, so this latest update only applies to a very small percentage. You can still get your updated booster dose if you haven’t yet!

I’ve heard that someone in Chile has the bird flu, and it’s adapting to spread to humans. Should we be worried?

It’s true that a man in Chile has been hospitalized with bird flu, and that an analysis of the virus shows two new mutations that have previously been shown to help the virus replicate better in mammals. That said, these changes alone probably aren’t enough to mean it can spread easily between humans, so the public health risk is still low. We aren’t worried about an imminent bird flu outbreak among humans, but we are worried on a longer timescale, and think everyone from governments to corporations should have their next pandemic plan in place.

How close are we to rapid Salmonella tests? Could we use them in foodservice?

Food processing plants already test for Salmonella, but it requires sending samples off to a lab and usually takes at least a day to return. Right now, there’s not usually testing at the food preparation stage, unless something has already gone wrong. A new German study hopes to create a quicker, one-hour rapid test that turns red if the sample has Salmonella, similar to a COVID test. It’s still very much in the development stage, but a branch of Toyota is a major investor, so they’re already thinking about commercializing the test. Whether it makes sense to use regularly in restaurants or food prep as part of a standard QA procedure remains to be seen, but we think it could be incredibly helpful to reduce risk before a high-profile event or to implement it for a period of time when there’s an unknown source for an ongoing outbreak. We’ll eagerly await these being readily available on the market, but that’s not likely for a number of years.

If an employee had norovirus on their days off, should we still do a full noro sanitizing?

This depends. If it was more than a few days ago, no other employees are showing signs of illness, and there are no guest illness complaints, you’re probably in the clear. But if the employee worked in the 48 hours before or immediately after their symptoms ended, they were probably still shedding the virus, so you should do a full sanitizing in those cases. In many cases we’re seeing lately, other employees are getting sick, too. Even if they don’t work while sick, if you’ve heard of multiple employees in different households coming down with noro-like symptoms, it’s the safest bet to do a full noro sanitizing to make sure you’re breaking the cycle of illness.

Best Read:

Diseases Didn’t Just Shape History, They Control the Future | 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.