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Hospital Employee Health – March 1, 2020

March 1, 2020

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  • New Coronavirus Exploding Out of China Poses Threat to Healthcare Workers

    Given the deadly precedents of SARS and MERS coronaviruses, a rapidly emerging similar virus out of Wuhan, China, could pose a grave threat to healthcare workers in the United States. As of Jan. 21, the World Health Organization reported that 16 healthcare workers had been infected by the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019- nCoV), and none have died. However, those numbers were considered conservative amid a dramatically accelerating situation as this report was filed.

  • WHO Declares Coronavirus Outbreak an International Emergency

    The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-CoV) outbreak in China a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) on Jan. 30. WHO emphasized China will not be isolated from the global community, which can happen after a PHEIC is issued.

  • First Case of Person-to-Person Transmission in the United States

    The first case of person-to-person spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus emerging in the United States has occurred, as the husband of a previously identified case in Illinois has been hospitalized, the CDC reported on Jan. 30. The man is the first U.S. case with no history of travel to China. Public health officials announced the woman became ill after returning from Wuhan, China, the epicenter of what is threatening to become a global outbreak. She has been hospitalized, and her husband became ill and also was hospitalized. They both are in stable condition.

  • NIH Developing a Vaccine for 2019-nCoV

    The National Institutes of Health has fast-tracked vaccine development to stop a novel coronavirus emerging from China, but it will be months before it can be administered safely to an anxious public. While promising, vaccine development and testing is a time-consuming process, both to ensure that it works and that it is safe in humans.

  • Surveillance Programs for Staff Working With Hazardous Medications

    Looking for guidance on best practices for a hazardous medication surveillance program? Many employee health professionals may be making changes to their hazardous medication surveillance program in response to United States Pharmacopeia <800> standards.

  • Continuous Visible Lighting Disinfection May Offer Benefits

    The University of New Mexico Comprehensive Cancer Center recently replaced traditional light bulbs in its operating rooms with antibacterial LEDs for a visible-light continuous environmental disinfection system. Research suggests the fixtures can continuously kill harmful bacteria on high-risk surfaces, which should be an improvement over intermittent cleaning. Another common option, ultraviolet lighting, is not safe for human exposure and can only sanitize spaces once patients and staff leave the room.