Week in Review: July 22

The Week in Review provides an overview of the past week’s top health care content, including industry news and trends, Mayo Clinic and Mayo Clinic Laboratories news, and upcoming events.

Industry News

Loss of smell, taste no longer predominant COVID symptoms as virus continues to mutate

As the coronavirus continues to mutate, the symptoms reported by patients with COVID are changing as well.  A recent survey of 17,500 patients in the United Kingdom found that the loss of taste and smell were no longer predominant symptoms of COVID while sore throat, dry cough, headache, and stuffy nose were the most common.  Fewer patients reported high fever, shortness of breath, and loss of taste with the Omicron variant compared to the Alpha and Delta variants. Loss of smell was reported by about half of COVID patients earlier in the pandemic but only ranked 20th in this survey.  However, anecdotally, some doctors are reporting an increase in patients reporting loss of smell with the newer BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron subvariants. Source: CBS News

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Monkeypox cases are increasing and the U.S. doesn’t have enough vaccines to meet demand
The CDC announced that the demand for monkeypox vaccines now exceeds the country’s supply. The U.S. has recorded 1,470 monkeypox cases since May. Source: Politico

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A deadly virus was just identified in Ghana: what to know about Marburg

After the coronavirus pandemic and the rise of monkeypox cases, news of another virus can trigger nerves globally. The highly infectious Marbrug virus has been reported in the West African country of Ghana this week, according to the World Health Organization. Two unrelated people died after testing positive for Marburg in the southern Ashanti region of the country, the WHO said Sunday, confirming lab results from Ghana’s health service. The highly infectious disease is similar to Ebola and has no vaccine. Health officials in the country say they are working to isolate close contacts and mitigate the spread of the virus, and the WHO is marshaling resources and sending specialists to the country. Source: Washington Post

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Mayo Clinic News

Don’t ruin your cookout by serving E. coli

The summer cookout brings with it the risk of sickness from bacteria that can end up spoiling more than one meal. Cook hamburgers incorrectly, and you could end up with a case of E. coli. “E. coli stands for Escherichia coli, which is a type of bacteria,” said Dr. Nipunie Rajapakse, a Mayo Clinic infectious diseases specialist. “Most commonly, we hear about it in raw or undercooked hamburger meat.” Source: Atlanta Journal Constitution

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State-licensed pharmacists can prescribe oral COVID pill Paxlovid, Wisconsin DHS says

According to the Wisconsin  Department of Health Services, state-licensed pharmacists are now permitted to prescribe the COVID-19 antiviral pill, Paxlovid, to eligible patients. Individual pharmacies will be able to determine whether they are willing to take advantage of this expanded capability. Source: News 8000

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Mayo Clinic platform leader Dr. John Halamka turning 'healthcare data into wisdom'

Mayo Clinic Platform, the data analytics and digital health arm of the Rochester, Minn.-based medical center, is trying to stop diseases in patients before they emerge, its leader told Becker's. "Do you remember the film Minority Report?" asked John Halamka, MD, president of Mayo Clinic Platform. "The notion in Minority Report was pre-crime — predicting the crime before it happens. What if we could predict disease before it happens? Then we could make sure that a patient receives appropriate interventions, treatment and monitoring so they don't experience severe disease." One way the platform is doing that is through an algorithm, given FDA breakthrough status in May, that uses Apple Watch data to detect pulmonary hypertension in people who may not be aware they have it. Source: Becker's Hospital Review

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Samantha Rossi

Samantha Rossi is a Digital Marketing Manager at Mayo Clinic Laboratories. She supports marketing strategies for product management and specialty testing. Samantha has worked at Mayo Clinic since 2019.