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Evaluation of health symptoms after a law enforcement operation
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  • Description:
    "The Health Hazard Evaluation Program received a request from a law enforcement agency that was concerned about illnesses among multiple law enforcement officers (LEOs) from multiple agencies who participated in a law enforcement operation to take a subject into custody and execute a search warrant at a residence. We visited the law enforcement agency, interviewed employees, and reviewed information about the operation including work and health for participating LEOs, forensic laboratory results for evidence collected, and environmental testing results of samples taken at the residence. LEOs found illicit drugs, guns, and explosive devices in the residence during the operation. Forensic laboratory testing showed the presence of cocaine, marijuana, and low explosive black powder in the residence. Environmental samples did not detect the presence of bioterrorism agents and toxins tested. Twenty-five of 38 LEOs who participated in the operation experienced health symptoms over the course of several days, although none became acutely ill during the operation. The symptoms and timing of symptom onset suggests a cluster of LEOs with influenza-like illness. The most common symptoms were fatigue, body aches, runny or stuffy nose, and headache. Some LEOs wore gloves, respirators, long-sleeved clothing, and eye protection during the operation. LEOs reported having facial hair while wearing a respirator or putting on and taking off a respirator while wearing potentially contaminated gloves. We recommended including health and safety considerations when planning law enforcement activities, conducting a job safety analysis with occupational safety and health experts or others with expertise on personal protective equipment and law enforcement work, ensuring all components of a respiratory protection program are implemented, keeping LEOs up-to-date on all new policies and procedures, encouraging all employees to get an annual seasonal flu vaccine, promoting hand hygiene practices, and following guidance available from NIOSH and other public health agencies to minimize potential work-related exposure to illicit drugs." - NIOSHTIC-2

    NIOSH no. 2019-0114-3358

    Recommended citation: NIOSH [2019]. Evaluation of health symptoms after a law enforcement operation. By Chiu S, Hornsby-Myers J, Trout D. Cincinnati, OH: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Health Hazard Evaluation Report 2019-0114-3358, https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/hhe/reports/pdfs/2019-0114-3358.pdf.

    2019-0114-3358.pdf

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