August 11, 2020

FDA last week concluded that the source of the outbreak is red onions from produce supplier Thomson International, in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from California, Georgia, and New York.

  • California: As of Sunday, a salmonella outbreak linked to onions had impacted 640 people in 43 U.S. states, as well as 239 people in Canada, according to an FDA release. The agency said the outbreak as of Sunday had led to 85 hospitalizations in the United States, but no reported deaths. FDA last week concluded that the source of the outbreak is red onions from California-based produce supplier Thomson International, and the supplier last week recalled onions that the company had shipped out starting May 1. CDC recommends that consumers throw away any onions supplied by Thomson and onions from unknown suppliers (Morales, New York Times, 8/9).

  • Georgia: CDC recently closed some of its office spaces in Atlanta after property managers discovered Legionella, the bacteria that causes Legionnaires' disease, in water sources at the sites. Some public health experts have warned that weeks-long business closures resulting from America's coronavirus epidemic could increase the risk of Legionnaires' outbreaks tied to stagnant water in buildings that had been unoccupied for prolonged periods of time. According to the New York Times, no CDC employees were sickened by the bacteria (Horberry, New York Times, 8/8).

  • New York: Thirteen percent of staff at New York City-based Northwell Health have tested positive for antibodies to the novel coronavirus, according to a research letter published last week in JAMA. The findings are based on a large-scale testing effort conducted by the Northwell Health Covid-19 Research Consortium and the Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research, which involved testing 40,329 health care employees at Northwell Health for coronavirus antibodies between April 20 and June 23. The effort revealed that 5,523 of the employees tested positive for the antibodies, which suggests that they had previously been infected with the coronavirus. Karina Davidson, a professor and SVP at the Feinstein Institutes, said the results indicate that "the personal protective equipment … used was successful in protecting the vast majority" of workers against contracting the coronavirus (Masson, Becker's Hospital Review, 8/6).

Weekly line: The 'recurring themes' of disease outbreaks

According to University of Michigan law professor Nicholas Bagley, past disease outbreaks tell us a lot about how governments and the public react to epidemics—and offer lessons for the future. Daily Briefing's Ashley Fuoco Antonelli spoke with him to find out just what those lessons are—and how they relate to the latest coronavirus.

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