Axios Seattle

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It's Tuesday, friends. "Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game." — Babe Ruth

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Today's newsletter is 858 words, a 3-minute read.

1 big thing: Bird flu detected in Washington mammals

A map of the United States shows counties where avian flu has been detected in wild mammals. The disease is widespread, particularly across New England, the upper midwest, Colorado and the Pacific northwest. It's been prevalent in red foxes but has also been found in a dolphin in Florida and a polar bear in Alaska.
Data: USDA; Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Washington is among the states with wild animals that have contracted the highly pathogenic bird flu, including a bobcat in King County, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Why it matters: The bird flu outbreak in dairy cattle that's swept across nine states and has infected at least one person is posing perplexing questions about how the virus is spreading between animals and the risk it poses to humans.

Driving the news: Originally found mainly in wild birds and backyard flocks, the H5N1 virus was detected in dairy cows in the U.S. on March 25, in commercial egg-layer flocks in April and in about 20 wild mammal species across the country as of May, per the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS).

Zoom in: The virus was first reported in Washington in 2022.

  • Since then, it has been detected in mammals in six counties, including raccoons in Franklin and Island counties and harbor seals in Jefferson County.
  • In March, it was detected in skunks in Stevens County and a bobcat in King, per APHIS.

Threat level: Experts say people are unlikely to be infected from eating beef, dairy or eggs.

Go deeper: The virus was present in the commercial milk supply prior to pasteurization, but was inactivated by the process and thus far, no live virus has been detected in any commercial milk samples, Meg Schaeffer, epidemiologist at data analytics firm SAS and author of a zoonotic influenza guide, told Axios.

  • Beef and chicken are safe to eat as long as they are thoroughly cooked, but raw milk and cheese should be avoided, per Schaeffer.

The intrigue: Washington state is susceptible to continued outbreaks of avian influenza because of its location within the Pacific Flyway, with migratory birds bringing viruses to domestic poultry populations, Schaeffer said.

What we're watching: Up to 75% of new and emerging infectious diseases in people come from animals, and most of those can be traced back to wildlife.

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2. Preventing pickleball injuries

A pickleball and paddle during the 2024 APP Vlasic Classic in Florida. Photo: David Berding/The APP/Getty Images

From overuse traumas such as "pickleball elbow" to sprains and even fractures, medical personnel are seeing more injuries as Washington's official state sport becomes mainstream, according to a study earlier this year.

Why it matters: Although pickleball has smaller courts and may require less ball chasing, players can still get broken wrists and ankles.

  • They also face problems like tendonitis from repetitive pounding on a hard surface, the Mayo Clinic study — presented in February to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons — found.

By the numbers: Almost 87% of all reported pickleball-related injuries occurred in participants over age 50, per another study published this year in Scientific Research.

  • But there are some simple things you can do to prevent them, per Sanj Kakar, a Mayo Clinic orthopedic surgeon.

Think of the three P's of prevention, said Kakar.

  • Warm up properly by doing long, slow stretches before taking your first swing.
  • Use the proper equipment — pickleball paddles are thicker, so you need not grip so hard.
  • And consider taking a lesson to make sure you're building on proper form.

Yes, but: Once injured, players should quickly apply the principles of RICE — rest, ice, compression and elevation to reduce swelling, inflammation and pain, per Seattle's Foot and Ankle Center of Lake City.

  • Check with your doctor before you start playing if you have been inactive or if you are injured, as some conditions require prompt medical attention.

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3. Morning Buzz: More money for transit

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

🚴🏽‍♂️ Mayor Bruce Harrell's office has added an additional $100 million for sidewalks, bikes and transit to the city's transit proposal, bringing the levy total to $1.45 billion.

  • The 8-year proposal, which includes $423 million for streets and $221 million for bridges, will make its way through the City Council before going before voters this fall. (Capitol Hill Seattle Blog)

🔥 Puget Sound Energy may temporarily shut down power lines to prevent wildfires when there is a combination of strong winds, very dry vegetation and low humidity.

  • It would be a measure of last resort and customers would be alerted first. (Fox 13)

4. Microsoft cracks down on security after attacks

Photo Illustration: Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Microsoft is overhauling its entire production line to prioritize cybersecurity and incorporate recommendations from a recent government investigation, the company's top security executive said last week.

Why it matters: Microsoft has come under fire in recent months after a wave of nation-state attacks targeted the company's products, resulting in Chinese and Russian spies accessing email inboxes tied to a cabinet secretary and senior Microsoft executives.

  • A government board has said the incidents could've been prevented.

The bottom line: All Microsoft user accounts will soon have multi-factor authentication by default.

Driving the news: Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella sent a memo to employees Friday detailing the new approach, according to The Verge.

  • "If you're faced with the tradeoff between security and another priority, your answer is clear: Do security," Nadella wrote in the memo.

What's next: Government officials will be watching closely to see how well Microsoft's new principles are implemented.

  • "Of course, the proof will be in the pudding," said Jen Easterly, director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.

Go deeper

👩🏻‍🌾 Clarridge is wondering whether it's time to pull out the garden hoses.

This newsletter was edited by Rachel La Corte and copy edited by Egan Millard.