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Land use changes are the leading cause of spillover, when viruses that affect animals make the leap to humans. Basically, any time that humans come into contact with wild animals that they haven’t previously been in close contact with, we increase the risk of a new zoonotic virus making the leap. Changing how we use and interact with the land - often through cutting down forest trees - is the main way that has been happening lately. We’ve seen deforestation and slash-and-burn agriculture cause humans to get infected with “monkey malaria” in Borneo, Nipah in Malaysia (that’s the one the movie Contagion is based on), Hendra in Australia and Ebola in Guinea. Epidemiologists are keeping a close eye on the edges of recently-cleared forests around the world, but most agree that more surveillance and resources are needed to help prevent the next pandemic.
Yes! We always recommend doing daily wellness checks (sometimes called employee symptom surveys) for at least three days if there’s a confirmed case of foodborne illness, like E. coli, salmonella, or norovirus. Especially in an outbreak situation, we have seen time and time again that doing preemptive surveys does catch sick employees who dismissed their symptoms as “nothing big” and would have worked, endangering coworkers, guests, and your brand. If you use ZHH for your sick call program, it’s easy to have any specific location require their employees to take the survey daily, and our clinical team is on hand to chat with anyone who has symptoms and keep your business open and your team safe.
While the CDC doesn’t require Hep A vaccination for food service workers, local health departments usually do require vaccination in an outbreak situation (and there are one or two local jurisdictions where it is required like St. Louis). When you have an employee positive for Hep A, one of the first steps will be figuring out which of your employees are vaccinated for it, so that you can coordinate with the local health department to vaccinate everyone else. Already having that list can save precious time in an outbreak situation and lead to a strong relationship with the health department. A few of our clients ask new hires to upload their Hep A vaccination information (if they have it) as part of the onboarding process - that’s the smoothest way.
The incubation period for most E. coli can range from 1 to 10 days, but is most often 3-4 days. If the employee worked in the 10 days before getting sick or after symptoms began, you should absolutely be doing daily wellness checks for all employees to monitor for symptoms. Person-to-person transmission of E. coli is unlikely, and foodborne transmission is much more likely. Generally, those exposed to someone positive for E. coli can continue to work as long as they closely monitor themselves for symptoms and stay home if any develop.
What Do We Actually Know About Covid-19? Not Enough - WSJ