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The Executive Briefing - Tuesday, October 4th

Listeria in brie; Noro cases up


  • The CDC has dropped nation-by-nation COVID travel notices and says the best way to stay safe is to stay up to date on vaccinations. (CNN)
  • The Supreme court rejected a challenge to the COVID vaccine mandate for federally funded healthcare facilities. (Reuters)
  • Evushield, a monoclonal antibody treatment used to prevent severe COVID in immunocompromised people, is not effective against BA.4.6, an Omicron subvariant. (FDA)
  • BA.2.75.2, a new subvariant, is on the watchlist as scientists try to anticipate which new variants might be a bigger threat this winter. (LA Times)

Public Health & MPX News:

  • There’s a multistate Listeria outbreak linked to brie and camembert cheeses sold under a number of names at many major grocery store chains. Check your fridge! (CDC)
  • A virus has killed more than 100,000 cattle in India and infected 2 million more. (The Hour)
  • Some SAPs (Substance Abuse Professionals who perform assessments after positive DOT drug tests) have been allowing drivers to work before completing assessments. The DOT issued a strong warning advising strictly adhering to timelines. (DOT)
  • Pharmacists are now authorized to administer the MPX vaccine. (Becker’s Hospital Review)
  • The CDC’s new MPX toolkit for employers and workplaces includes good info for both employers and employees, including a communication toolkit. (CDC)

Mental Health News:

  • Antidepressant use during pregnancy doesn’t harm child development, a new study shows. (CNN)
  • Hurricane Fiona and other natural disasters in Puerto Rico have exacerbated the mental health crisis there. (USA Today)
  • It’s important to vet mental health advice on TikTok and Instagram. (Washington Post)

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:

Is it true that mRNA in breast milk means it’s not safe for breastfeeding moms to get the booster shot?

It’s still safe - and encouraged - for pregnant and breastfeeding women to get vaccinated and boosted. While it’s true that trace amounts of mRNA have been found in breast milk in the day or two after vaccination, it is not unsafe for the baby. In fact, a mother being vaccinated and boosted helps keep her and her baby safe.

Will there be a winter wave of COVID?

Unfortunately, there’s likely to be a winter surge. When it hits and how bad it will be are still to be determined. Europe’s COVID cases showed more signs of rising last week, and that generally means that the US isn’t far behind. So the wave may already be beginning. That plus the fact that we expect a worse-than-normal flu season means we’re likely to see winter disruptions to businesses and travel plans. Our hope is that the latest variants on the rise won’t be as destructive as Omicron and Delta were, but the possibility certainly exists. We’ll continue to keep a close eye on cases and variants worldwide.

Are you seeing more norovirus activity?

Absolutely. We’re seeing norovirus across the country and watching particular hotspots on the East Coast, like North Carolina and New York. Remember that someone with extensive vomiting and diarrhea should not be back to work the next day! They should be out for at least 3 days, with a full 48-hours since their last vomit or diarrhea before they can return, so it may be longer than that.

Do employers need to do anything about polio?

Polio is circulating in New York state and, most likely, in other areas of the US. There’s not much for employers to do beyond educating their employees about the importance of staying up to date on vaccinations and encouraging routine childhood vaccinations for employees’ families. There’s only been one confirmed case of paralytic polio in New York, though wastewater shows there is certainly virus circulating more widely. Most cases are asymptomatic, but if you find out that an employee or their family member has polio, be sure to reach out and ZHH can help you respond.

Best Read:

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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.