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The Executive Briefing - Tuesday, April 25th, 2023

TB, Narcan, and a LOT of norovirus

Health News:

  • Experts are slamming the drugmaker after it announced that Narcan would be available for “less than $50” per kit over-the-counter, which is likely to be a barrier to those who need access most. (Washington Post)
  • Music festivals are supplying and training in the use of Narcan to prevent overdoses.  (USA Today)
  • One third of all US households used the government-provided COVID tests, and a quarter of them said they wouldn’t otherwise have gotten tested. (CIDRAP)
  • New-onset diabetes is another post-COVID risk. (CIDRAP)
  • California has reported 59 noro outbreaks since October, and the CDC is reporting a 16% positivity rate compared to 11% last spring. (Patch.com)
  • The FDA has approved the first new drug for a rare form of ALS - unusual in part because its effectiveness remains unproven.  (NY Times)
  • Two decades after we started looking for it, a Lyme disease vaccine may be coming very soon. (Axios)
  • A measles outbreak in American Samoa has been declared a public health emergency. (ABC News)
  • A military research lab in Maryland that tested pathogens like anthrax and Ebola had major wastewater leaks that could have led to public water contamination. (KFF)
  • The Florida Surgeon General personally altered a state-sponsored study about COVID vaccines last year to suggest that sudden cardiac death risks were more severe than previous drafts of the study. (Politico)

Mental Health News:

  • A new study showed that fried foods, like french fries, can increase your risks for anxiety and depression. (Today)
  • Night shifts or rotating shifts were associated with higher rates of psychological distress in adults who work them, compared to day shifts. (CDC)
  • More research is linking air quality with mental health. (KFF)

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:

Our employees are concerned about working with someone who had active TB, but is now cleared to return to work by the health department. What should we tell them? 

You can only get TB from someone with active TB disease.  An employee who has been cleared to return to work by the health department has undergone extensive treatment that’s been closely monitored by public health workers. They’re only cleared once the health department has determined that there’s no risk of them spreading TB infections to others. So, if the health department says they can return to work, rest assured that they’ve been carefully checked out and can’t spread the disease. 

If we add a sharps container to our bathroom, how should we dispose of it when it’s full? 

First, check with local trash removal services. Many states allow sharps containers (properly packaged and labeled) as part of regular trash pick up or allow you to schedule special medical waste pickups. You can also drop off sharps containers at specific collection sites, like hospitals, nursing homes, certain pharmacies, health departments, police, or fire stations. These vary by state or local regulations. There are also sharps container suppliers who provide disposal of the containers when full. You can search by state or zip code at https://safeneedledisposal.org/, but be aware that some collection sites don’t allow business waste. 

The discussions about whether we should stock Narcan are heating up.  What are other restaurants and public venues doing?  

Narcan still isn’t available to purchase directly over-the-counter, but it will be soon. Most businesses we know are keeping an eye on this but not purchasing just yet, in part because the makers of Narcan are currently getting heat for the $50 price tag they’ve mentioned for a kit with two doses. We’ve seen a fair amount of public pressure leading to lower drug prices lately, so it might be sensible to wait until we know what the bulk pricing will cost businesses before making final decisions. Depending on pricing, some of our clients are considering stocking it in every first aid kit or on the wall near defibrillators. If you’re considering stocking naloxone, you’ll likely want to consult your legal team and create a clear process on how and when to use it. Training for managers and employees will be important for both identifying signs of overdose and properly administering naloxone if you do choose to purchase a supply. 

Best Read:

NYT Opinion: Finding the Origin of a Pandemic is Difficult. Preventing One Shouldn't Be.

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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.