Always cook your bear meat well done… 🐻

Plus, another human bird flu case in Michigan

May 24, 2024

Bird Flu News:

  • A Michigan farmworker became the second human H5N1 case in the U.S. linked to dairy cows. Like the previous case in Texas, it was primarily eye symptoms. (NPR)
  • Australia had its first human H5N1 case, in a child returning from travel to India. (Reuters)
  • 55% of U.S. jurisdictions reported barriers to monitoring people exposed to H5N1, including lack of staffing and funding, but nearly all had the means to test people.  (Medpage Today)
  • Dairy farm workers are disproportionately likely to be uninsured, low income, have limited English proficiency and to be non-citizen immigrants compared to all workers in the U.S. (KFF)
  • Many US dairy farmers have yet to receive PPE as recommended by CDC. (Reuters)

Health News:

  • Six human trichinellosis cases are tied to consumption of undercooked black bear meat infected with a freeze-resistant species of the parasite. (MMWR)
  • Over four years in, California celebrates a milestone - its first day without a COVID death since the pandemic began. (Mercury news)
  • Cue Health, once worth $2+ billion, is shutting down a week after the FDA issued a warning that their tests could be providing false results. (San Diego Union Tribune)
  • STIs are climbing at a rapid pace worldwide, including here in the U.S. (CIDRAP)
  • Michigan is a norovirus hotspot this month. (WKFR)
  • A norovirus recall was issued for frozen oysters from Korea. (FDA)
  • There’s a multistate Salmonella outbreak linked to backyard poultry, with over 100 cases, nearly half of which are in children. (CDC)

Mental Health & Substance Use News:

  • California is trying a program that pays meth users each week if they can pass a urine test, up to $599 per year. (KFF Health News)
  • Congress passed a reauthorization of the FAA that requires naloxone in on-board medical kits on U.S. flights. (Tristate Alert)
  • Nearly 7000 teens enrolled in the first six months of New York City’s free online therapy program. (Chalkbeat)

If you or someone you know may be considering suicide or need help, call 988 or message the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741. 

Best Questions:

Why not just start producing a bird flu vaccine for humans now? 

We do have two vaccines that would likely work well for humans against the current strain of H5N1. But the biggest issue preventing us from starting production is that we use the vast majority of production capacity to produce seasonal flu vaccines. If we have to produce H5N1 vaccines, we’d have to pause making the seasonal vaccines that are still extremely important. And because the threat of H5N1 spreading easily between humans is still remote, we aren’t ready to give up on fall flu shots, which would almost certainly see an increase in illness, hospitalizations, and deaths from the “regular” flu. The other piece of the puzzle, not to be overlooked, is that any virus that jumps to humans and spreads easily between us will be mutated, so there’s always a bit of a gamble when we try to create a vaccine before a virus is actually spreading. It could be a great match, or it could mutate enough that the H5N1 vaccine we have now isn’t a great fit (which happened during the 2009 swine flu outbreak). For now, public health will wait and see, but some critics are concerned about the lack of a clear process for how to make the decision to stop seasonal flu production and start pandemic flu production. 


An employee mentioned having bloody diarrhea to a coworker, but when asked, shared a vague doctor’s note clearing them to work. What should we do?

If you are a foodservice establishment, you are required to follow the Food Code, which means that you’re required to exclude employees who have diarrhea, except from a noninfectious condition. If the doctor’s note doesn’t explicitly state that their bloody diarrhea is from a noninfectious condition and clear them to work in a foodservice setting, it’s okay to keep them out of work until you either receive a more specific doctor’s note or until the employee reports being at least 48-hours symptom-free. In particular, bloody diarrhea can be a symptom of some dangerous and highly contagious diseases, including E. coli, Salmonella, and others. 

Sources: CDC, ZHH

Best Long-Weekend Read:

4 Ways Vaccine Skeptics Mislead You on Measles and More - KFF Health News