MMWR News Synopsis

Friday, April 23, 2021


Workers’ Compensation Claim Rates and Costs for Musculoskeletal Disorders Related to Overexertion Among Construction Workers — Ohio, 2007–2017

CDC Media Relations

Among Ohio construction workers during 2007-2017, workers age 35-44 years had the highest rates of worker’s compensation claims for work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs) due to overexertion. This study showed that among workers aged 45-64 years, claims were more costly and resulted in more days away from work for workers. As the U.S. workforce grows older, it’s critical to understand age-specific health and safety needs of workers in hazardous and physically demanding industries such as construction. Overexertion is a leading cause of WMSDs among construction workers because they often handle heavy materials. Researchers examined the rate and cost of WMSD claims by age due to overexertion among Ohio construction workers during 2007-2017. WMSDs affect Ohio construction workers of all age groups but they do so differently. As age increases, the WMSDs appear to be more severe. The WMSD claim rate is highest for those aged 35-44 years; however, workers ages 45 and older tend to have more costly claims and more days away from work due to the severity of WMSDs. Ergonomic design improvements and interventions such as task modification, promotion of ergonomic tool and equipment use, and safety trainings are needed to ensure that the majority of construction workers can safely perform jobs throughout their careers. Some age-specific WMSD prevention and risk communication efforts may also be helpful, especially ones that target the needs of older workers, particularly as the current U.S. workforce ages.

Airport Traveler Testing Program for SARS-CoV-2 — Alaska, June–November 2020

Clinton Bennett, Communications Director, Alaska Department of Health and Social Services
Office Phone: 907-269-4996
Cell Phone: 907-500-4993

Through testing and quarantine, Alaska’s traveler testing program may have contributed to the state’s low rates of COVID-19 last summer by reducing opportunities for importation and community transmission. On June 6, 2020, Alaska initiated a traveler testing program to reduce COVID-19 introduction. Travelers could be tested within 72 hours before or upon arrival or could quarantine for 14 days following arrival without testing. Airport testing identified more than 900 infected passengers, or about one person per 400 arriving travelers. The program might have contributed to Alaska’s low rates of COVID-19 during the summer by reducing opportunities for community spread at travelers’ destination locations. The percentage of positive airport test results remained very low until October, when it began increasing along with increasing rates of COVID-19 nationwide. This program demonstrated that testing programs and post-travel self-quarantine might reduce travel-associated COVID-19 importation and spread. Traveler education and community and industry partnerships may help ensure success. Prevention measures such as vaccination, social distancing, wearing masks, and avoiding gatherings after arrival might also help limit spread after arrival.

COVID-19 Outbreaks in Correctional Facilities with Work-Release Programs — Idaho, July–November 2020

Jeff Ray, Public Information Officer, Idaho Department of Correction
Office Phone: 208-658-2141

As of November 2020, nearly 400 outbreak-related COVID-19 cases were identified among incarcerated people at five Idaho correctional facilities with work-release programs. Correctional facilities operating work release programs should consider implementing measures to reduce COVID-19 spread, including mass testing and collaboration with public health officials to identify high-risk work sites. Incarcerated people participating in work release should be included in COVID-19 vaccination plans. Correctional and detention facilities face unique challenges for controlling the spread of COVID-19. Work-release programs, where incarcerated people work at businesses in the community, might pose additional risks to incarcerated people or the people they come in contact with. During July 14–November 30, 2020, investigators found that COVID-19 was diagnosed in 382 people incarcerated in Idaho correctional facilities with work-release programs. Two outbreaks were linked to work at food processing plants. Isolation of people with COVID-19, identification and quarantine of close contacts, mass testing, and temporary suspension of work-release programs helped control outbreaks in these facilities with work release. Implementing public health recommendations for correctional and detention facilities with work-release programs, including identifying high-risk work-release placements, can help prevent COVID-19 outbreaks. Vaccination can help protect incarcerated persons, including those participating in work release, from COVID-19.

Laboratory Modeling of SARS-CoV-2 Exposure Reduction Through Physically Distanced Seating in Aircraft Cabins Using Bacteriophage Aerosol — November 2020 (Early Release April 14, 2021)

CDC Media Relations

Notes from the Field

Flour is an increasingly recognized source of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) outbreaks. In 2018-2019, an outbreak of STEC infections linked to contaminated flour led to 21 illnesses across nine states. Raw flour is not a ready-to-eat product, and this outbreak highlights the continuing risk for illness associated with consumption of flour and raw dough or batter. While investigators initially considered a possible link to ground beef, several patients reported eating, licking, or tasting raw dough or batter in the week before symptoms started. Laboratory testing identified a contaminated bag of all-purpose flour, which was then traced back to a single milling facility. A widespread product recall was promptly initiated. The outbreak resulted in 21 illnesses from nine states and three hospitalizations. Raw flour is not ready-to-eat and can contain germs. This outbreak highlights the importance of always baking or cooking flour and raw dough or batter before eating it.



CDC works 24/7 protecting America’s health, safety and security. Whether diseases start at home or abroad, are curable or preventable, chronic or acute, or from human activity or deliberate attack, CDC responds to America’s most pressing health threats. CDC is headquartered in Atlanta and has experts located throughout the United States and the world.

Page last reviewed: April 21, 2021