Occupational, Environmental, and

Public Health News

October 30, 2019

Global Highlights of Potential Biologic, Chemical, and Ergonomic Risk Issues, Affecting Our Workplaces and Communities

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) http://www.cdc.gov

  • Vaccinating pregnant women protects both Mom’s and babies:   Influenza and whooping cough can be deadly, especially in a baby’s first few months of life. Vaccinating women against these diseases during each pregnancy helps protect both them and their babies. Studies show flu and whooping cough vaccines are very safe for pregnant women and developing babies. https://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/maternal-vaccines/
  • Outbreak of Lung Injury Associated with the Use of E-Cigarette, or Vaping, Products: As of October 22, 2019, 1,604* cases of e-cigarette, or vaping, product use associated lung injury (EVALI) have been reported to CDC from 49 states (all except Alaska), the District of Columbia, and 1 U.S. territory. Thirty-four deaths have been confirmed in 24 states. CDC recommends that you do not use e-cigarette, or vaping, products that contain THC. CDC also recommends that people should not: Buy any type of e-cigarette, or vaping, products, particularly those containing THC, off the street; Modify or add any substances to e-cigarette, or vaping, products that are not intended by the manufacturer, including products purchased through retail establishments; Since the specific compound or ingredient causing lung injury are not yet known, the only way to assure that you are not at risk while the investigation continues is to consider refraining from use of all e-cigarette, or vaping, products.  https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/basic_information/e-cigarettes/severe-lung-disease.html
  • People at High Risk For Flu Complications: Most people who get sick with flu will have mild illness, will not need medical care or antiviral drugs and will recover in less than two weeks. Some people, however, are more likely to get flu complications that can result in hospitalization and sometimes death. Pneumonia, bronchitis, sinus infections and ear infections are examples of flu-related complications. Flu also can make chronic health problems worse. For example, people with asthma may experience asthma attacks while they have flu and people with chronic congestive heart failure may experience a worsening of this condition triggered by flu. Below are the groups of people who are more likely to get serious flu-related complications if they get sick with flu. https://www.cdc.gov/flu/highrisk/index.htm
  • 2018 Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo Outbreak (ongoing): This is the 10th and largest Ebola outbreak in DRC, and the second largest outbreak of Ebola ever recorded since the virus was discovered in 1976 in DRC.  https://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/outbreaks/drc/2018-august.html https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices/alert/ebola-democratic-republic-of-the-congo
  • Wash Your Hands: Handwashing is one of the best ways to protect yourself and your family from getting sick. https://www.cdc.gov/features/handwashing/index.html  
  • Travel Health Notices: Travel notices are designed to inform travelers and clinicians about current health issues related to specific destinations. These issues may arise from disease outbreaks, special events or gatherings, natural disasters, or other conditions that may affect travelers’ health. https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices/


  • FDA/CBER Current Product Shortages Include: APLISOL, Gammagard, SHINGRIX, Hepatitis B Vaccine (Recombivax), BCG Live (Intravesical), Immune Globulin Subcutaneous (Human), 20% Solution Cuvitru, Immune Globulin Intravenous (Human) Gammaplex 5%, Yellow Fever Vaccine (YF-VAX), Zoster vaccine (recombinant), Anticoagulant Sodium Citrate Solution (Fenwal), and many antivenoms. https://www.fda.gov/BiologicsBloodVaccines/SafetyAvailability/Shortages/ucm351921.htm

International Safety and Hygiene Association (ISHA)

OSHA considering changes to silica standard: OSHA may “broaden the circumstances” under which certain employers would be permitted to comply with its Respirable Crystalline Silica Standard for Construction, according to a request for information and comment issued by the agency last week. OSHA is looking for information on additional engineering and work practice control methods to effectively limit exposure to silica. http://enews-bnp.com/portal/public/ViewCommInBrowser.jsp?Sv4%2BeOSSucwxctRH9VZ6F07S04D7wz%2BjNYsxAfRmJbTeP7YP6ZdJ20p7%2FRkZIiWURA4IiG29zv5GGoL3XIc%2Bcw%3D%3DA

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/

· Prevent Hypothermia & Frostbite: Hypothermia (abnormally low body temperature) and frostbite are both dangerous conditions that can happen when a person is exposed to extremely cold temperatures. Stay safe this winter by learning more about hypothermia and frostbite, including who is most at risk, signs and symptoms, and what to do if someone develops hypothermia or frostbite. https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/winter/staysafe/hypothermia.html

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)   www.osha.gov

  • If You Work Around Lead, Don’t Take It Home: Did you know that if you work with lead you could be bringing this toxic metal home on your clothes, shoes, skin, hair and hands? Take-home lead can cause lead poisoning in children and other family members. Stop lead from getting into your home and vehicle by always washing, showering, and changing out of your work clothes and work shoes before leaving work. OSHA has regulations to protect workers from lead exposure in both general industry (1910.1025) and construction (1926.62) https://www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3680.pdf#page=2
  • Personal Protective Equipment: Personal protective equipment, or PPE, is designed to protect workers from serious workplace injuries or illnesses resulting from contact with chemical, radiological, physical, electrical, mechanical, or other workplace hazards. Besides face shields, safety glasses, hard hats, and safety shoes, protective equipment includes a variety of devices and garments such as goggles, coveralls, gloves, vests, earplugs, and respirators.  https://www.osha.gov/OshDoc/data_General_Facts/ppe-factsheet.pdf
  • Emergency Preparedness and Response: Preparing before an emergency incident plays a vital role in ensuring that employers and workers have the necessary equipment, know where to go, and know how to keep themselves safe when an emergency occurs. https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/emergencypreparedness/index.html

World Health Organization (WHO) http://www.who.int

  • Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo Health Emergency Update:   Total of 3250 cases (3133 confirmed & 117 probable), including 2171 deaths, 1045 survivors, and patients still under care as of October 24, 2019. https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/ebola/drc-2019
  • Two out of three wild poliovirus strains eradicated: In an historic announcement on World Polio Day, an independent commission of experts concluded that wild poliovirus type 3 (WPV3) has been eradicated worldwide. Following the eradication of smallpox and wild poliovirus type 2, this news represents a historic achievement for humanity. https://www.who.int/news-room/feature-stories/detail/two-out-of-three-wild-poliovirus-strains-eradicated
  • Adopting a healthy lifestyle helps reduce the risk of dementia:  People can reduce their risk of dementia by getting regular exercise, not smoking, avoiding harmful use of alcohol, controlling their weight, eating a healthy diet, and maintaining healthy blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels, according to new guidelines issued by WHO. “In the next 30 years, the number of people with dementia is expected to triple,” said WHO Director-General. “We need to do everything we can to reduce our risk of dementia. The scientific evidence gathered for these Guidelines confirm what we have suspected for some time, that what is good for our heart, is also good for our brain.” https://www.who.int/news-room/detail/14-05-2019-adopting-a-healthy-lifestyle-helps-reduce-the-risk-of-dementia
  • Ten threats to global health in 2019: The world is facing multiple health challenges. These range from outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases like measles and diphtheria, increasing reports of drug-resistant pathogens, growing rates of obesity and physical inactivity to the health impacts of environmental pollution and climate change and multiple humanitarian crises.   To address these and other threats, 2019 sees the start of the World Health Organization’s new 5-year strategic plan. https://www.who.int/emergencies/ten-threats-to-global-health-in-2019

Scholarly Journals

  • Improving occupational health in China:   The total number of reported occupational cases up until 2018 was 97 500, and 90% of reported occupational diseases were pneumoconiosis. China’s rapid global economic progress is a double-edged sword for occupational health, exposing workers, particularly the poor and the disenfranchised, to unprecedented injuries and risks but also providing an opportunity to promote workplace health and safety standards for the country’s working population. https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(19)31799-4/fulltext?dgcid=raven_jbs_etoc_email
  • Physical activity trajectories and mortality: population-based cohort study: Conclusions -Middle aged and older adults, including those with cardiovascular disease and cancer, can gain substantial longevity benefits by becoming more physically active, irrespective of past physical activity levels and established risk factors. Considerable population health impacts can be attained with consistent engagement in physical activity during mid to late life. https://www.bmj.com/content/365/bmj.l2323

Public News Sources

Infectious Disease: Global Health Concerns

Ebola virus disease (EVD), formerly known as Ebola hemorrhagic fever, is a severe, often fatal illness in humans. The average EVD case fatality rate is around 50%. Case fatality rates have varied from 25% to 90% in past outbreaks. As of October 24, 2019 there are atotal of 3250 cases (3133 confirmed & 117 probable), including 2171 deaths, 1045 survivors, and patients still under care.https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/ebola-virus-disease https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/ebola/drc-2019/

Legionella bacterium – was named after an outbreak in 1976, when many people who went to a Philadelphia convention of the American Legion got sick with pneumonia. About 6,100 cases of legionella were reported in 2016, however, because Legionnaires’ disease is likely underdiagnosed, this number may underestimate the true incidence.  1 in 10 people who contract legionella die. Legionella can be prevented by properly treating water systems in buildings. http://www.cdc.gov/legionella/fastfacts.html http://www.cdc.gov/legionella/outbreaks.html

Lyme disease – is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi and is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected blacklegged ticks: Typical symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, and a characteristic skin rash called erythema migrans. If left untreated, infection can spread to joints, the heart, and the nervous system. Lyme disease is diagnosed based on symptoms, physical findings (e.g., rash), and the possibility of exposure to infected ticks.  Laboratory testing is helpful if used correctly and performed with validated methods. Most cases of Lyme disease can be treated successfully with a few weeks of antibiotics.  It is the most commonly reported vector borne illness in the U.S. While there are 30,000 reported cases of Lyme disease in the U.S. each year, the estimated number of actual cases in the U.S is about 300,000 annually.  96 percent of reported Lyme disease cases in the U.S. occur in 14 States. These states are primarily in the Northeast and Upper Mid-West. The cases occur due to heavy deer and deer tick populations. Lyme disease can be treated with antibiotics with full recovery if caught early. Permanent physical damage may occur if Lyme disease diagnosis and treatment are delayed. This damage can include deafness and in extreme cases, brain damage. http://www.cdc.gov/lyme/ http://www.cdc.gov/lyme/stats/humancases.html

MalariaEvery year, millions of US residents travel to countries where malaria is present. About 1,700 cases of malaria are diagnosed in the United States annually, mostly in returned travelers. Travelers to sub-Saharan Africa have the greatest risk of both getting malaria and dying from their infection. However, all travelers to countries where malaria is present may be at risk for infection. Globally, an estimated 3.2 billion people in 97 countries and territories are at risk of being infected with malaria and developing disease. In 2017 there were 219 million cases of Malaria. Most cases occur in Africa. 2 of 4 major strains of Malaria have become drug resistant to anti-malarial medication worldwide, increasing mortality with this disease.  Obtain a detailed itinerary including all possible destinations that may be encountered during the trip and check to see if malaria transmission occurs in these locations. The Malaria Information by Country Table https://www.cdc.gov/malaria/travelers/country_table/a.html provides detailed information about the specific parts of countries where malaria transmission does or does not occur. http://www.who.int/campaigns/malaria-day/2018/en/ https://www.cdc.gov/malaria/travelers/index.html http://www.who.int/gho/malaria/en/

Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) – is a viral respiratory disease caused by a novel coronavirus (MERS‐CoV) that was first identified in Saudi Arabia in 2012. 2,468 cases and 851 deaths have been reported in 27 Countries as of 9/30/2019. The cases are predominantly in Saudi Arabia. Incidence and Mortality totals are cumulative starting with the September 2012 outbreak. In total, cases have been reported from 27 countries in the Middle East, North Africa, Europe, the United States of America, and Asia. http://www.who.int/emergencies/mers-cov/en/  

Zika Virus – is spread mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito (Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus). These mosquitoes bite during the day and night. Zika can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus. Infection during pregnancy can cause certain birth defects. There is no vaccine or medicine for Zika. Local mosquito-borne Zika virus transmission has been reported in the continental United States as well as its territories. http://www.cdc.gov/zika Going to Visit Friends or Family in an Area with Zika? Learn about which countries are affected by Zika.  https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/world-map-areas-with-zika Top 5 Things Everyone Needs to Know About Zika https://www.cdc.gov/zika/pdfs/zika-what-we-know-infographic.pdf  

As of September 30, 2019, there have been 0 reported travel related cases in the continental U.S. and 0 local transmission cases reported in U.S. territories for all of 2019.