Last week, the Commission for Public Health held their second meeting of 2024. Significant updates and concerns were discussed, providing crucial insights into the state’s public health landscape. Below are the key takeaways:

Attorney General Update: Senate Bill 512 Alterations

Senate Bill 512 has reshaped the Commission for Public Health, prompting legal challenges from the Attorney General’s office. Despite the challenge, the court ruled in favor of the bill, reducing gubernatorial appointees from 9 to 5, allocating 4 appointees to the General Assembly, and eliminating the mandated soil scientist position. The AG’s office is appealing this decision, though the law is currently in effect post-failed challenge.

Public Health Updates:

  • H5N1 in Dairy Cows and Milk: DHHS noted detections of the virus in a dairy herd in NC, which has now tested negative. While pasteurization has been deemed effective against the virus, there have been two human cases detected in other US states.
  • Congenital Syphilis: A concerning increase with 73 cases reported in 2023 in NC while only 57 were reported in 2022, marking a steady rise over the past decade.
  • Measles Preparedness: While NC currently has no reported cases, global and national increases necessitate readiness measures such as testing capacity and provider literature creation.

Rulemaking Proposals:

Dr. Wilson, a Medical Epidemiologist for Communicable Diseases, proposed updates to the list of reportable communicable diseases. Key points include:

  • Expanding reporting requirements for Cronobacter Infection in infants and Carbapenemase bacteria conditions.
  • Updating the term “monkey pox” to “mpox” as per FDA changes.
  • Updating Typhoid terminology to specify Salmonella Typhi and Salmonella Paratyphi bacteria.
  • Approval for rulemaking was granted, with estimated costs around $90,000 for electronic system updates and education.

These updates and discussions underscore the ongoing efforts to safeguard public health in North Carolina amidst evolving challenges and regulatory changes.