Health Highlight: Tue. 14, Mar.

Carlos Franco
4 min readMar 15, 2023

Today’s highlights: Today’s highlights: concerns about a human outbreak of Bird Flu; the Biden Administration’s ambitious goal for a national water standard; the CDC’s updated travel notice for Global Polio.

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🔗: Mayo Clinic monitoring rising avian influenza cases, preparing for potential human-to-human outbreak

✍🏼 By: Cory Pedersen • @MayoClinic

Summary: The Mayo Clinic is keeping an eye on the rising number of avian influenza cases and preparing for a possible human-to-human outbreak.

  • Context: The main concern is that humans lack immunity to a strain that is attuned to wildlife, such as birds and other mammals.
  • Support Info: While the risk of the virus spreading to humans remains low, the growing number of reports of avian influenza infection in humans is concerning.
  • Analysis: Experts are concerned about the virus’s ability to mutate and efficiently infect human cells.
  • Conclusion: The next step in preparation is to determine whether a specific avian influenza test is needed.

Further Reading: “Bird Flu Has Begun to Spread in Mammals — Here’s What’s Important to Know”

🏷️ Tags: #HPAI #H5N1 #BirdFlu #Influenza #Pandemic

🔗: Biden-Harris Administration Proposes First-Ever National Standard to Protect Communities from PFAS in Drinking Water

✍🏼 By: EPA Press Office@EPAwater, @EPA

Summary: The Biden-Harris Administration has proposed the first-ever national drinking water standard for six per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), including PFOA and PFOS, which have been linked to serious health issues such as cancer.

  • Context: “Through this action, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is taking a major step to protect public health from PFAS pollution, leveraging the latest science and complementing state efforts to limit PFAS by proposing to establish legally enforceable levels for six PFAS known to occur in drinking water.”
  • Support Info: If approved, the proposal would regulate PFOA and PFOS at a level that can be reliably measured at 4 parts per trillion, as well as four other PFAS as a mixture.
  • Analysis: The regulation will mandate that public water systems monitor for these chemicals and reduce PFAS contamination if levels exceed the proposed regulatory standards.
  • Conclusion: The rule will save thousands of lives and prevent tens of thousands of serious PFAS-related illnesses.

Further Reading: “Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS)”

🏷️ Tags: #PFAS #PFOS #WaterPollution #BidenAdministration

🔗: The CDC updated their Travelers Health Global Polio Travel Notice on March 7th

✍🏼 By: CDC Staff Writer(s) • @CDCgov

Summary: The CDC has listed Canada and the UK, along with 30+ other countries as destinations that have “circulating poliovirus.” They recommend that adult travelers receive an inactivated polio vaccine booster and that children be up to date on their routine polio vaccines.

  • Context: The Global Polio Travel Notice is at Alert-Level 2, Practice Enhanced Precautions, and based this update on information from the National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases (NCEZID), and Division of Global Migration and Quarantine (DGMQ)
  • Support Info: “Polio is a crippling and potentially deadly disease that affects the nervous system. Good hand washing practices can help prevent the spread of this disease.”
  • Analysis: It appears that only Canada in the Americas is affected, and that most of Europe, with the exception of the UK, is also unaffected.
  • Conclusion:Before travel to any destination listed [in the travel notice], [the] CDC recommends that adults who previously completed the full, routine polio vaccine series receive a single, lifetime booster dose of polio vaccine.”

Further Reading: “Choose Safe Food and Drinks When Traveling”

🏷️ Tags: #Polio #TravelAlert #CDC #Vaccination #PolioVaccine

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Carlos Franco

Freelance technical writer with an advanced degree and 10+ years of experience in patient education.