Health Intelligence

Updates for Seasonal Influenza (Flu) for 2022–2023

After a couple of Flu Seasons that were extraordinarily mild, Seasonal Flu is back with a vengeance. It’s starting early and all indications point to a very active Season.  The FirstWatch Intelligence Page (HIP) has updated Flu Resources, both in written documents, as well as links to outside resources for quick reference. Hopefully, these resources, as well as Weekly Flu Summaries of Flu Activity for the US and Canada, as well as globally, will help navigate this Flu season for your...

Be Careful with Fentanyl but Don’t Be Afraid to Treat

The Media, and now TV shows & movies, are representing any response from First Responders (EMS, Fire, Law Enforcement) as at risk for their own overdoses, should they even be in proximity to fentanyl.  This is partly due to the fact that there are reports of First Responders becoming symptomatic when on the scene where fentanyl is suspected or found, sometimes delaying critical patient care. This article looks at the current literature and expert guidance to explore the actual continuum of...

Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Resources for First Responders

There has been increased concern about both domestic and international terrorism throughout the world. There are also natural disasters and accidental events, such as chemical releases or theft/loss of radioactive isotopes from construction sites or hospitals, occurring all around the country. One thing is clear, First Responders are almost always going to be first in on any of these incidents, except for those on the scene as the incident is occurring, looking for help. First Responders can, with the correct training,...

Ebola (Sudan strain) Outbreak in Uganda

Uganda announced that they had an outbreak of Ebola, caused by the rarer Sudan viral strain on Sept 20, 2022.  Although the rate of new cases has slowed, there is still concern since there are no treatments, other than supportive care for this strain, and the vaccine, used in previous Zaire-strain outbreaks, is not effective on the Sudan strain.  Also, the counties affected are in an area with good roads & close to the capital as well as the DRC,...

Update on the Omicron Variant & Review of Mitigation Strategies for COVID-19

Omicron, the latest Variant of Concern, has become dominant in the U.S. and is gaining on the Delta Variant in Canada.  This follows its sudden surge in dominance over other strains in many countries in Africa and in Europe and confirms its increased infectiousness in the U.S.  This article includes an update on Omicron, mostly through the use of links to articles about its known and suspected traits, including differences from previous COVID-19 strains.  Due to some of these differences,...

Intro to Seasonal Influenza (Flu) 101 for 2021-2022

This document serves as an introduction, or review, for topics related to Seasonal Flu and what can be anticipated in the 2021-22 Flu Season.  It includes a description of Flu, prevention, at risk groups, flu shots, incubation, symptoms, testing & diagnosis, and more.  It also has links to both CDC and Canada Health resources on many of the topics. View/Download Full Document

CDC HAN Advisory of Monkeypox in a US Citizen Traveler

A US Citizen traveled from Nigeria to Dallas, Texas via Atlanta on two different flights over two days.  After a few days here, the individual visited a Dallas Emergency Room for a rash and was confirmed to have Monkeypox. Public Health Authorities are monitoring over 200 people in 27 states, who may have been exposed during the flights or in the airports. This article describes the details of the flights and what EMS needs to know to manage anyone who may...

iPhone 12/Implanted Cardiac Devices Warning and Monkeypox in the UK

This article is a quick briefing on two topics. The first topic is very important for all First Responders, especially those performing any EMS functions, to be aware of and pre-plan management. The second topic is a reminder that not only COVID-19 can travel fast but it's also not the only virus that a country had to consider during a COVID surge. Instead of a separate list of Resources & Links, a few pertinent links are listed with each of the...

COVID-19 Variants Update

COVID-19 Variants, particularly those named Variants of Concern, are increasingly posing a greater risk to countries throughout the world, including the US and Canada. Currently, the Delta Variant (aka B.1.617.2), which has rampaged India, has very rapidly become the dominant variant in the UK, replacing the previously dominant Alpha Variant (B.1.1.7). It is rapidly gaining the same ground in the US and some experts expect it to be dominant in the next month. This article discusses the Variants and looks specifically...

J&J (Janssen) COVID-19 Vaccination Restart

After about a 10 day pause in the Johnson and Johnson (Janssen) Vaccine being administered in the US, on April 23, the Advisory Committee for Immunization Practice (APIC), recommended to the CDC & FDA to restart J&J vaccinations again.  The pause was due to reports of multiple cases of a new syndrome that identified as an apparently rare cerebral venous sinus thrombosis with thrombocytopenia, later called TTS, and potentially associated with the J&J COVID-19 vaccine. This turned out to be...

Seasonal Flu – So NOT in the News in 2020-2021

Seasonal Flu, for both the US and Canada, has pretty much been a no show for the 2020-21 Season.  Even though both countries did more surveillance and Flu tests than in other seasons, the number of Influenza-Like-Illness (ILI) health care provider visits as well as positive Flu tests was nearly flat, even compared to previous very low seasons.  Canada wrote in their last report that there isn't even enough Flu detected to declare a start to the 2020-21 Flu Season. ...

Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) & Guinea Update

There is good news in the DRC regarding Ebola, while the fight against it in Guinea continues.  Both the DRC and Guinea began their 42-day countdowns from their last known cases on 3/21 and 3/24, respectively.  The DRC continues their countdown, but Guinea's was interrupted with a new case in Soulouta, along with a cluster of suspicious deaths.  If no new cases emerge, the DRC's outbreak will be declared over in early May.  Guinea's newest case was reported on 4/2. ...

Health Canada Issues an Advisory/Recall for Face Masks Containing Graphene

Health Canada published an Advisory to warn Canadians (the general public, healthcare professionals and hospitals) to NOT wear face masks that contain Graphene or Biomass Graphene until further notice. The warning explains the concern that wearers of these masks may inhale graphene particles from some masks that could pose health risks, including pulmonary injury.  Graphene is a fairly new nanotechnology, particularly when it comes to face masks, so a small introduction to the technology with regards to human health is included. 

FDA & CDC Recommend Pause in Johnson & Johnson (J&J) Vaccinations

THE FDA & CDC have recommended a pause in administering J&J (Janssen) COVID vaccinations after the VAERS (Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System) had reports of six (6) women, between the ages of 18 and 48, developing a rare type of blood clot between 6 & 13 days after receiving the J&J vaccine.  This article contains an overview of the HAN Alert Recommendation and why it is so important, some information about this rare clot, adenovirus- vector COVID vaccines, a chart...