'Hotel Influenza' Will Pay You $3500 to Come Get the Flu

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iStock

Miami Beach. The Caribbean. Cabo. All of these vacation spots may sound appealing, but they can cost thousands. Why not plan a getaway where your hotel not only pays your travel expenses but also gives you a little extra just for coming?

Thanks to St. Louis University’s Center for Vaccine Development, now you can. The only catch? You’ll be purposely exposed to influenza. And most sightseeing is out, since you’ll be quarantined.

As Forbes reports, the university just announced that it has converted part of its on-campus hotel into a research hub for flu. “Guests” of “Hotel Influenza” will be paid volunteers in a human challenge study that aims to evaluate the efficacy of vaccines. Rather than follow subjects in the real world who may or may not contract the virus, the center will make sure of it, exposing occupants to germs and then evaluating their response. Researchers are offering $3500 to cover each volunteer's travel expenses, leaving the rest as compensation for marinating in their own snot.

That exposure doesn’t necessarily guarantee they’ll experience flu symptoms. If a guest happens to have been treated with a working vaccine rather than a placebo, they might not get sick, and can pass away the time in the center’s modest quarters, which include catered meals and a common room with a television. If they do fall ill, 24-hour medical care will keep their discomfort to a minimum. Owing to the risk of transmission, they won’t be allowed to leave until they stop shedding the virus. The typical duration of stay is about 10 days.

The center is hoping this kind of targeted research will help improve seasonal flu vaccines with a long-term goal of developing a universal vaccination that can cover multiple strains of flu. Organizers expect a pilot study will be up and running within the next six months.

There will only be 24 slots available, so be sure to book early.

[h/t Forbes]

Arizona Animal Sanctuary Needs Volunteers to Cuddle Rescued Wolfdog Puppies

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iStock.com/s-eyerkaufer

A dog sanctuary and rehabilitation center near Clarkdale, Arizona, has been flooded with phone calls and emails ever since it asked for volunteers to come cuddle their rescued wolfdog puppies. Nonprofit organization Pets Return Home recently saved more than two dozen pups—plus two pregnant moms—from being euthanized in Northern California, SFGATE reports.

These particular pups were rescued from a breeding center in California that had more than 160 wolfdogs, which are a cross between a wolf and a dog—typically a Siberian husky, Alaskan Malamute, or German shepherd. The population at the “puppy mill” got out of control, and the owner could no longer afford to feed the dogs, according to FOX10 in Phoenix.

Several other animal organizations stepped in to save the pups, but 60 still remain in Lessen County, California. Local officials say the dogs must be rescued by November 2, or else they will be euthanized. Plan B to Save the Wolves in Sedona is currently seeking shelters that are willing to take in the animals.

As for the pups in Arizona, Pets Return Home said in a Facebook post that the pups are “adapting extremely well to their new kennels.” Earlier this week, the organization put out a request for volunteers to help socialize—and yes, snuggle—the pups to improve their odds of being adopted. Unsurprisingly, they received an “outpouring of support” and are currently processing those requests.

They’re also still in need of financial support. The dog food alone is expected to cost around $2000 per month, and funds are required to cover medical fees. For more information on volunteering or donating, check out the organization’s website or Facebook page.

[h/t SFGATE]

A Finnish Tourism Company Is Hiring Professional Christmas Elves

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iStock.com/kali9

Finland isn't quite the North Pole, but it will be home to a team of gainfully employed Christmas elves this holiday season. As Travel + Leisure reports, the Scandinavian country's Lapland Safaris is looking for elves to get guests into the holiday spirit.

Lapland Safaris is a tourism company that organizes activities like snowmobiling, Northern Lights-gazing, skiing, and ice-fishing. The elf employees will be responsible for leading guests to their buses and conveying important information, all while spreading holiday cheer. The job listing reads, "An Elf is at the same time an entertainer, a guide, and a mythical creature of Christmas."

Each Lapland Safari elf will receive training through Arctic Hospitality Academy prior to starting the job. There, they will learn "the required elfing and communication skills." Training will be conducted in English, but candidates' knowledge of French, Spanish, or German is a plus.

To apply, aspiring elves can fill out and submit this form through Lapland Safaris's website. The gig lasts from November 2018 to the beginning of next year, with employees having the option to work at any of the company's Finnish destinations (Santa's workshop is unfortunately not included on the list).

[h/t Travel + Leisure]

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