2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19): Monitoring For Employees

Occupational Health Clinic

The 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a virus that has emerged in Wuhan City (Hubei Province), China and has caused respiratory illness. It appears to have first started from exposure to animals at a seafood and animal market.  The incubation period (time from exposure to development of symptoms) can be up to 14 days.

Exposure to Pertussis

What is pertussis and how is it spread? Pertussis is a bacterial infection of the respiratory tract which generally begins with mild upper respiratory symptoms and can progress to severe attacks of coughing (paroxysmal stage), often with a characteristic inspiratory whoop. It is caused by Bordetella pertussis. Transmission occurs by close contact with respiratory secretions from an infected person.

Treatment for Exposure to Respiratory Diseases

Occupational Health Clinic

Some of the most common respiratory diseases healthcare workers may be exposed to include pertussis (whooping cough), varicella (chickenpox), tuberculosis, meningococcal infections, and measles. Any time you have an exposure to one of these illnesses for which OHC assesses your contact with the patient, you must fill out a Tennessee First Report of Injury form.

Working With Formaldehyde

Formaldehyde is a chemical used in embalming and tissue preservation, as well as in cold sterilization. Acute exposure to formaldehyde may result in pulmonary edema (fluid in the lungs), central nervous system (CNS) depression, or pneumonitis (inflammation of the lung tissue). Chronic exposure may cause irritation of the skin, mucous membranes or respiratory tract. Repeated exposure to formaldehyde may result in an allergic response. It is also a potential carcinogen. Primary exposure routes are inhalation and skin absorption.

Working with Radioactive Iodine

When patients are treated with radioactive iodine, their blood and body fluids such as urine and vomit can contain the radioactive drug. Caregivers should understand the risks of exposure. There are two different types of radiation risks: Thyroid exposure: Having the radioactive iodine absorbed by your thyroid gland. External beam radiation: Getting radiation exposure from the contaminated body fluids, just like you would from an X-ray. Preventing thyroid exposure