It’s big news that there have been several locally-acquired cases of malaria in Texas and Florida, which isn’t common in the US. In the past, nearly all malaria cases have been imported by people traveling from countries where it’s endemic, so two cases in two different states from local mosquitos is worrisome. For employers whose workers are outside, consider offering mosquito protection like repellent, long sleeves, and pants, or screens for indoor-outdoor spaces, especially in areas with lots of mosquitos. Malaria symptoms are flu-like and require medical treatment.
Yes, an employee can work if they have a tick bite or were just bitten, though they should monitor themselves for symptoms. Right now, there aren’t many viruses or diseases caused by ticks that also spread from human to human, except in rare cases with blood transfusions. While the employee can continue to work, they should monitor for rash, fever, or other symptoms in the weeks after their tick bite and seek medical attention if needed.
The CDC is regularly tracking new variants and has their eye on a few different ones in the US, including EU.1.1, which has made headlines recently. While it still accounts for under 2% of total cases in the country, it’s rapidly rising in the west, making up 8.7% of cases in Utah, Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming. Utah seems to have a particularly high case rate of EU.1.1, but the good news is that Utah’s case rates and hospitalizations still remain low. We’ll continue to track this and other new variants, though a lack of testing data means there will be lags between what’s happening on the ground and the data we’re seeing in the lab.