Will the Adriatic run out of fish soon?

first_imgToday, fishing has reached its maximum, they point out from the WWF and add that fishing is maximally exploited, overfished or 93 percent of fish stocks have already been overfished. We may not be aware of these facts because we don’t care and think we will easily, but the facts are exact and it is high time we became aware and act.”It’s a huge problem and if we continue like this we will soon be left without fish in the sea, but also the source of income that this fish provides us.” pointed out Daniel Kanski, fisheries advisor at WWF Adria, at the Esplanade Hotel in Zagreb, where yesterday, as part of the Fish Forward project, WWF’s guide to buying fishery products was presented.”Stories behind your plate” is a guide that will help all lovers of fish and fishery products to choose the right food in the preparation of their favorite dish. Namely, legal catch is not always a sustainable catch, and Western Europe has long recognized this difference and uses MSC (Marine Stewardship Council) certification for fishery products from sustainable catch. WWF is working to launch this certification process throughout the Mediterranean, including the Adriatic, where fish stocks are also in very poor condition. “I remember Mira Kišpatić’s book from 1893, which I received as a gift, more precisely a quote: ‘The sea is an inexhaustible source of fish and people will never exhaust it completely’. Only 123 years later, all the world’s fisheries are collapsing. The Mediterranean and the Adriatic, unfortunately, face the same fate. This is exactly the reason why this guide exists and we have tried to point out good examples in it. In stores, the focus should be on sustainable fisheries products and thus educate people. If we choose what is better, there will be more and more of it over time”, Said Martina Šubašić, Head of Communications at the Fish Forward project.Buy certified fish when possible, don’t eat juvenile fish, check labels and tags, try variety – are the messages heard from the presentation of the WWF guide.Along with recipes and anecdotes, this guide is an exceptional read for all those who love fish, take care of the environment, want to change the current situation in the world and learn how to recognize fish from sustainable catch or responsible breeding.”You don’t believe fish can talk? Read our guide and you will be convinced that I really can. Mussels will tell you that in the Mediterranean they are bred on hanging ropes to keep them above the seabed and prevent habitat destruction, and the carp that got its name from the legend that smaller species of fish can ride on its back”, Points out Martin Šolar, director of WWF Adria.Will the world’s nightmare remain empty?Illegal and unregulated fishing in the world could soon reach 26 million tons, or about 30 percent of the world’s total annual catch. And of the 49 countries that are considered largely “fish dependent”, 46 are in the tropics. For the inhabitants of these countries, fish is the main source of protein and micronutrients, and the situation is not in their favor, their health is directly endangered and they are threatened with malnutrition.If these trends continue, the world’s seas could be completely fish-free by 2048. It is therefore extremely important to influence awareness and encourage consumers to change. That is why WWF, the world organization for nature protection, last year launched the Fish Forward project, which involved 11 countries from the European Union, including Croatia. The countries of the European Union are the largest importers of fishery products in the world, and almost 50 percent of these imports come from developing countries.”Overfishing is the second greatest danger to our seas and oceans after climate change, and we need to take care of that. That is why WWF is implementing this project, because we want to encourage people to be careful when choosing the products they eat. In this guide you will learn many interesting things, such as that the gilthead seabream begins life as a male, and when it reaches 30 centimeters it becomes a female.”, Said Petra Boić Petrač, Head of Communications at WWF Adria.Croatia imports about 50 percent of fishery products! Who’s crazy here?Some countries in Europe, such as Iceland and Norway, for which fisheries are a strategic branch, have enough products for their needs. Croatia could also be among them if it were not for the export and consumption of small blue fish in tuna farming, so we are forced import about 50 percent of fishery products. Even countries with the largest fishing fleets in the Mediterranean, such as Italy and Spain, are dependent on imports of fishery products.Only by buying the right fish do we renew the fish stock and support fishermen and their families around the world, thus preserving the world’s seas. “Stories behind your plate”, the online version of which is available at www.kojuribukupiti.org.Sanda Sokol, PR and marketing manager of the Esplanade Zagreb hotel, said that this hotel has been successfully cooperating with WWF for years. “Our goal is primarily to raise awareness, but also to influence suppliers when ordering groceries and guests when choosing meals in a restaurant. As early as last year, in collaboration with WWF, we began adjusting the offer of fish in our restaurant, with an emphasis on that coming from sustainable sources. We started with Sustainable Fish Days at the bistro, and continued to mark dishes on the menus to educate our guests”.It’s time for action today, it’s all up to us humans, not someone out there somewhere. When the fish disappears, it will be too late to react, so we all have to react as soon as possible, and consumers have the greatest power, because if they start watching which fish they consume to encourage sustainable development, then the business i.e. only the viability of the same.The problem is here and it concerns us, not there “somewhere” far away. Let’s wake up until it’s far.WWF: Stories from your platelast_img read more

Read More

Do brain interventions to treat disease change the essence of who we are?

first_imgEmail Share on Facebook These days, most of us accept that minds are dependent on brain function and wouldn’t object to the claim that “You are your brain.” After all, we’ve known for a long time that brains control how we behave, what we remember, even what we desire. But what does that mean? And is it really true?Despite giving lip service to the importance of brains, in our practical life this knowledge has done little to affect how we view our world. In part, that’s probably because we’ve been largely powerless to affect the way that brains work, at least in a systematic way.That’s all changing. Neuroscience has been advancing rapidly, and has begun to elucidate the circuits for control of behavior, representation of mental content and so on. More dramatically, neuroscientists have now started to develop novel methods of intervening in brain function. LinkedIn Pinterestcenter_img Share on Twitter Share As treatments advance, interventions into brain function will dramatically illustrate the dependence of who we are on our brains – and they may put pressure on some basic beliefs and concepts that have been fundamental to how we view the world.Pacemaker for heart versus one for the brainMedicine has long intervened in the human body. We are comfortable and familiar with the reality of implants that keep the heart going at a steady and even pace. We don’t think pacemakers threaten who we are, nor that they raise deep and puzzling ethical questions about whether such interventions should be permissible. The brain, like the heart, is a bodily organ, but because of its unique function, its manipulation carries with it a host of ethical and metaphysical conundrums that challenge our intuitive and largely settled views about who and what we are.The last few decades have seen a variety of novel brain interventions. Perhaps the most familiar is the systemic alteration of brain chemistry (and thus function) by a growing array of psychopharmaceuticals. However, more targeted methods of intervening exist, including direct or transcranial electrical stimulation of cortex, magnetic induction of electrical activity, and focal stimulation of deep brain structures.Still on the horizon are even more powerful techniques not yet adapted or approved for use in humans. Transgenic manipulations that make neural tissue sensitive to light will enable the precise control of individual neurons. Powerful gene editing techniques may enable us to correct some neurodevelopmental problems in utero. And although many of these methods seem futuristic, hundreds of thousands of cases of the future are already here: over 100,000 cyborgs are already walking among us, in some sense powered by or controlled by the steady zapping of their brain circuits with electrical pulses.This is no dystopian nightmare, nor the idea for a new zombie show. Deep brain stimulation (or DBS) has been a life-restoring therapeutic technique for thousands of patients with Parkinson’s disease with severely impaired motor and cognitive function, and it promises to dramatically improve the lives of people suffering from some other psychological and neurological disorders, including obsessive compulsive disorder, treatment-resistant depression, and Tourette’s syndrome.DBS involves the placement of electrodes into deep brain structures. Current is administered through these electrodes by an implanted power pack, which can be remotely controlled by the subject and adjusted by physicians. In essence, DBS is like a pacemaker for the brain.Remarkably, we don’t quite know how it works, but when effective, DBS can in seconds restore normal function to a person virtually paralyzed by a dopamine deficiency, contorted by uncontrollable tremor and muscular contraction. The transformation is nothing short of miraculous.When neuroscience answers push us toward philosophy questionsIn addition to its obvious clinical benefits, DBS poses some interesting problems.For one thing, DBS does not always only address the troubling symptoms of the disease it aims to treat. Sometimes, stimulation results in unanticipated side-effects, altering mood, preferences, desires, emotion or cognition. In one reported case, the identifiable side effect of stimulation was a sudden and unprecedented obsession with Johnny Cash’s music.While it may be fairly easy to write off improvements in motor control as some kind of mechanical restoration of a broken output circuit (which would be a misunderstanding of the actual function of DBS in Parkinson’s), messing with our preferences and passions seems to hit much closer to home. It calls attention to something hard to fathom and often overlooked: what we like, what we are like, who we are, in some very real sense, are dependent on the motion of matter and ebb and flow of electrical signals in our brains, just like any other physical devices.This reminder points to something we may often pay lip service to, without really coming face to face with its implications. However, the increasing availability of neurotechnologies may push us to deeper philosophical exploration of the truth about our brains and our selves.After all, if we are merely material beings whose personality can be altered and even controlled by fairly simple technologies, is there really a there there? Is there some immutable kernel of a person that is the self, or an essence that resists change? Can brain interventions can change who we are – make us into a different person or alter personal identity?If someone insults you (or commits a crime) while under stimulation by DBS, should he be held responsible for what he does? Under what conditions (if any) does it make sense to say that “it wasn’t really him”? Does the answer give us insight into what matters about brain function? And if we think that brain interventions should excuse people, when and why is that so? Does that reasoning also imply that we ought to excuse all behavior due to brains, which are, after all, just physical systems operating according to natural laws? That is, does it threaten to undermine the notion of responsibility more generally?These are hard questions that philosophers have been grappling with for a long time. For the most part they were relegated to the academy and the realm of thought experiments, and were largely ignored by the rest of the world. But we live today in a world of thought experiment made real, and these questions are now being raised in practical circumstances in medicine and in law. Although there is no consensus (and I do not mean to endorse what might seem to be the obvious answers to the above questions), what have previously seemed like the abstract puzzles of philosophers may soon be seen to hit closer to home.Adina Roskies, Professor of Philosophy, Dartmouth CollegeThis article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.last_img read more

Read More

People with disabilities more likely to be arrested

first_imgShare on Facebook LinkedIn Share on Twitter Email Sharecenter_img People with disabilities face all sorts of discrimination every day. New Cornell University research suggests they may also face it while interacting with the police.People with disabilities in the study – including emotional, physical, cognitive or sensory disabilities – were nearly 44 percent more likely to be arrested by age 28, while those without had a lower probability of arrest, at 30 percent.This “disability penalty” was strongest for African-American men. Pinterest Black men with disabilities in the study were at a particularly high risk of arrest: 55 percent had been arrested by age 28. In contrast, 27.5 percent of whites in the study who had no disability had been arrested by that age.The research was published this month in the American Journal of Public Health.“I expected to find that people with disabilities would be more likely to be arrested, but I was frankly shocked by how large the disparity was,” said author Erin McCauley, a doctoral candidate in the field of policy analysis and management.“These findings really point to a problem,” she said. “For people with disabilities, particularly men of color, the experience of arrest is extraordinarily common. They are constantly exposed to this risk.”And because the types of disability were evenly distributed across all races, the difference in the probabilities of arrest between whites and blacks is likely due to racial discrimination, she said.The findings have public health implications, she said.For example, police training should put stronger emphasis on de-escalation, minimizing the use of force, and the role of implicit bias in police interactions, she said. In the paper, she wrote: “Police officers should understand how disabilities may affect compliance and other behaviors, and likewise how implicit bias and structural racism may affect reactions and actions of officers and the systems they work within in ways that create inequities.”And ensuring high-quality care could decrease how frequently and closely people with disabilities come into contact with the criminal justice system, she said.“For many with disabilities, quality health care is imperative for positive functioning within the community through increasing access to medication and support services,” she wrote.last_img read more

Read More

Study ties social media to discrimination against Chinese Americans amid the coronavirus pandemic

first_imgShare on Twitter Share on Facebook LinkedIn Share Pinterestcenter_img Email A new study published in Frontiers in Communication suggests that the more American citizens trust their daily social media outlet, the more they believe that Chinese Americans are a threat to the United States.As the world battles with the COVID-19 pandemic, an upsurge in racism and discrimination against Asians has surfaced. In the United States, reports from Asian Americans range from dealing with racial slurs and wrongful termination to being spat on and suffering physical violence.Previous research points to social media as a “playground for racism”, a troubling suggestion given that the public is relying increasingly on social media as a source of information during this time of physical isolation. Study authors Steven M. Croucher and his team aimed to explore the involvement of social media in the increased prejudice against Chinese people in America. “To better defend against and rebuild from the virus it is essential we understand how societies are socially responding to the virus,” Croucher and colleagues say. “To what extent are societies and cultural groups blaming each other for its spread? To what extent is social media being used to unite or divide against Covid-19?”A sample of 274 Caucasian Americans filled out an online survey that measured their perception of threat from Chinese Americans. Symbolic threat was measured by asking subjects to rate statements insinuating that Chinese culture was interfering with the American way of life (e.g. “American identity is threatened because there are too many Chinese today”). Realistic threat was measured by having subjects rate items insinuating that Chinese individuals were a threat to American economic power (e.g. “Because of the presence of Chinese, Americans have more difficulties finding a job”). Additionally, the Intergroup Anxiety Scale measured subjects’ emotional response to ambiguous interactions with Chinese individuals.Finally, the survey asked participants to identify their most used social media platform and then rate the extent that they feel the outlet is fair, accurate, factual, and concerned about the public.Results showed that social media had no effect on subjects’ intergroup anxiety scores. However, belief that one’s most used social media is fair, accurate, factual, and concerned about the public was associated with belief that Chinese Americans present both a realistic and symbolic threat to Americans. Additionally, respondents who said they did not use social media every day reported less symbolic threat than those who indicated Facebook as their daily social media outlet.“The impact of belief in social media on symbolic and realistic threats could reflect social media content during the COVID-19 pandemic, in which resentment about the outcome of COVID-19 is associated with higher levels of prejudice toward the outgroup perceived to be responsible for the virus,” the authors reason.Interestingly, the results revealed sex differences surrounding Americans’ perceived threats and anxiety towards Chinese Americans. Women scored higher than men on both symbolic threat and realistic threat, indicating that women felt more threatened that Chinese Americans would negatively affect their welfare and economic power.Men, on the other hand, scored higher than women on intergroup anxiety, which researchers called “a clear indicator that men feel more awkward, irritated, suspicious, anxious, defensive, and self conscious while having communicative interactions with Chinese Americans.” This finding, the authors suggest, could indicate that men feel more threatened by change given their higher status in American patriarchal society.The authors conclude that social media is contributing to the increased discrimination against Asian Americans and stress that “it is important for future research to look at how Chinese Americans and other groups have been framed/portrayed on social media.”The study, “Prejudice Toward Asian Americans in the Covid-19 Pandemic: The Effects of Social Media Use in the United States”, was authored by Stephen M. Croucher, Thao Nguyen, and Diyako Rahmani.(Photo credit: Tim Dennell)last_img read more

Read More

CDC: H1N1 declining but still widespread

first_imgNov 20, 2009 (CIDRAP News) – Pandemic H1N1 influenza activity is showing further signs of declining around the country but remains very widespread, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported today.The virus was widespread in 43 states last week, compared with 46 a week earlier, the CDC said in its H1N1 Situation Update. Visits to doctors for flu-like illness dropped for the third week in a row, and flu-related hospitalization rates began to decline as well. But both variables remained above normal for this time of year.Another 21 flu-related deaths in children were reported last week, including 15 involving confirmed H1N1 infections, the CDC said. That raised the total of confirmed H1N1 pediatric deaths to 171.”We are beginning to see some declines in influenza activity around the country, but there’s still a lot of influenza everywhere,” said Dr. Anne Schuchat, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, at a news briefing today.Flu activity is “still much greater than we would ever [normally] see at this time of year,” she said.All 10 federal regions are starting to see declines in flu activity, but activity is still increasing in some states, including Maine and Hawaii, Schuchat reported.She stressed that the pandemic remains unpredictable and that she didn’t know if it has peaked: “We don’t know if these declines will persist, what the slope will be, whether we’ll have a long decline or it will start to go up again.”On the vaccine supply front, Schuchat said a total of 54.1 million doses have been made available, an increase of 11 million over a week ago. As of 2 days ago, 93% of the available doses had been ordered by the states, she added.Meanwhile, manufacturers reported that 94.5 million doses of seasonal flu vaccine had been distributed as of Nov 13, she said. The CDC has predicted that the seasonal vaccine supply will total about 115 million doses.Regarding the deaths in children, Schuchat said about two thirds of the children had an underlying condition such as asthma, cerebral palsy, or muscular dystrophy. A common factor in those who were previously healthy has been bacterial co-infections, which point to the importance of pneumococcal vaccines, she noted.H1N1 mutation in NorwaySchuchat also commented on reports that surfaced today of a mutation in H1N1 viruses found in three patients in Norway. The World Health Organization (WHO) said today that the mutation was found in the first two fatal H1N1 cases in Norway and in one patient with severe illness.”What I can say is the mutation that was identified has no implications for how good the match of the vaccine is and it has no implications for treatment with antiviral medicines, but it’s important to track and look for changes,” Schuchat said.She further said the mutation has been seen sporadically around the world in both severe and mild cases. “There’s some theoretical reasons why this particular mutation might lead an influenza virus to live easier in the deep part of the lungs and cause lower respiratory infections, but we’ve actually seen lower respiratory infections in severe viral pneumonia without this mutation,” she said. “So I think it’s too soon to say what this will mean long term.”The WHO said the mutation does not appear to spread and the public health significance of the finding is unclear.”Although further investigation is under way, no evidence currently suggests that these mutations are leading to an unusual increase in the number of H1N1 infections or a greater number of severe or fatal cases,” the agency said.The statement said the mutated virus remains sensitive to oseltamivir and zanamivir, and studies show that existing pandemic vaccines provide protection.See also: Nov 20 CDC Situation Updatehttp://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/update.htmNov 20 WHO statementhttp://www.who.int/csr/disease/swineflu/notes/briefing_20091120/en/index.htmllast_img read more

Read More

WHO: It’s too early to say pandemic has peaked

first_imgDec 3, 2009 (CIDRAP News) – The World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) top influenza expert said today it’s too soon to judge whether the H1N1 influenza pandemic has passed its peak, though he acknowledged that cases are dropping in the United States and Canada.”It’s too early to say whether activity is peaking in the Northern Hemisphere, and it’s not possible to predict what will happen in the spring,” said Dr. Keiji Fukuda, special adviser to the WHO director-general on pandemic flu.In response to questions, Fukuda said it’s premature for the WHO to start formal discussions on whether the pandemic has crested. “In some countries there are still increasing infections, even though there are some countries, such as the United States and Canada, where infections are going down,” he said.Formal discussions on whether the pandemic is waning won’t come until “sometime in 2010,” he said.Recent reports indicate that that the second wave of pandemic is ebbing in the United States and Canada. The latest report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), covering the third week in November, said physician visits for flu-like illness dropped for the fourth straight week. And the Public Health Agency of Canada said on Nov 27 that all provinces and territories had reached “a possible epidemic peak.”The evidence from Europe is less clear. Today’s update from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said H1N1 deaths increased by 6% last week, signaling a slower rise in mortality, as the toll had been nearly doubling every 2 weeks over the preceding 6 weeks.In other comments today, Fukuda said the WHO has not calculated a case-fatality rate (CFR) for the pandemic, after a reporter noted that the CDC recently estimated the US CFR to be .018%.Fukuda said CFR estimates depend today, as in past pandemics, mainly on gathering data on all deaths and then using modeling techniques to estimate how many were flu-related. “People don’t count flu deaths on a one-to-one basis,” he said.”It’s much too soon to have the kind of vital record health data that’s typically used to model estimates of overall [flu] deaths,” he added. “I think it’ll take another 1 to 2 years after the pandemic to collect this kind of data and come up with estimates.”The WHO estimates that 150 million doses of H1N1 vaccine have been distributed in about 40 countries so far, Fukuda said.Meanwhile, the WHO released a statement today to allay concerns it said have been voiced in the news media that experts on some of the agency’s advisory committees have pharmaceutical industry ties that influence policy decisions related to the pandemic.The statement says the WHO has historically collaborated with the pharmaceutical industry because efforts to improve health depend on access to effective and affordable medicines, vaccines, and diagnostics. The agency said it has many safeguards to identify and deal with potential conflicts of interest.The statement also says public perceptions of the H1N1 pandemic have been strongly influenced by the 5-year history of worry about the deadly H5N1 avian influenza virus. “Adjusting public perceptions to suit a far less lethal virus has been problematic,” the agency said. “Given the discrepancy between what was expected and what has happened, a search for ulterior motives on the part of WHO and its scientific advisers is understandable, though without justification.”In the briefing, Fukuda emphasized the necessity of WHO’s collaboration with many partners, including private companies, though he didn’t mention media criticisms.”It’s the private sector that makes vaccine,” he said. “Most vaccine is not made by governments, but by companies in the private sector, both in developed and developing countries. It’s this group which has unique knowledge of vaccines because they manufacture them. It’s essential for public health to access this knowledge.”See also: WHO statement on the use of advisory bodies in responding to the pandemichttp://www.who.int/csr/disease/swineflu/notes/briefing_20091203/en/index.htmlNov 30 CIDRAP News story “CDC: Flu activity eases, but child deaths still climb”Dec 3 ECDC daily update on pandemiclast_img read more

Read More

Animal health groups offer mixed views on FDA antibiotic policy

first_imgApr 18, 2012 (CIDRAP News) – Animal health groups today commended the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) voluntary approach to reducing the growth-promotion uses of antibiotics in farm animals but voiced some concern that the policy may hurt animal health and lead to higher meat prices.Last week the FDA published three draft documents outlining how it proposes to phase out growth-promotion (production) uses because of the concern that they hasten the development of resistance in antibiotics for humans. The plan calls on drug companies to voluntarily remove production uses from their product labels.The general aim of the FDA policy is to eventually end the agricultural use of antibiotics without veterinary supervision. The process is expected to take several years.Industry and veterinary officials addressed the issue today at a press teleconference hosted by the Animal Health Institute (AHI), which represents companies that make veterinary drugs. They said they appreciate the collaborative approach the FDA has used in developing the policy, but they also evinced some worries about the impact.By way of background, Ron Phillips, AHI’s vice president for legislative and public affairs, said the FDA currently allows four types of label claims for antibiotics used in animals: treatment of disease, control of disease (for use in outbreaks), prevention of disease, and growth promotion or feed efficiency.The FDA considers treatment, control, and prevention all to be “therapeutic” uses targeting a specific disease or agent, whereas growth promotion is what some call a “subtherapeutic” use, Phillips noted. He said producers and veterinarians are required to follow the label indications in all cases.Liz Wagstrom, DVM, chief veterinarian for the National Pork Producers Council, voiced the most concern about the FDA’s policy.She said the experience in Denmark—which banned the production uses of antibiotics in pigs in 2000—and other countries has suggested that such uses yield health benefits for farm animals.”We expect to see more sick animals and higher costs of production, which may or may not translate into higher prices in the meat case,” Wagstrom said. “We expect those things without a positive impact to public health.”Richard Carnevale, DVM, the AHI’s vice president of regulatory, scientific, and international affairs, agreed that the growth-promotion use of antibiotics improves animal health. “We have evidence that the use of these at lower levels . . . actually serves to prevent subclinical infections,” he said.Carnevale was asked if drug companies might change the label indications for some of the drugs now used for growth promotion to prevention, thereby permitting them to continue to be used much as they are now.”That’ll depend on if companies can conduct studies to show that,” he said. He said growth-promotion claims have been used in many cases because they were relatively easy to prove. To change the label indication to prevention, drug makers will need to show the FDA not only that the drugs enhance growth, but that they do so by suppressing subclinical infections, he said.When Carnevale was asked if simply changing label indications from growth promotion to prevention would undermine the FDA’s effort to protect human health, he said, “If those indications are relabeled to preventive levels, then the FDA will have had to go through a process of determining their safety as well.” The FDA “will have to certify that those things work, but that they’ll also be safe.”In other comments, Wagstrom said the ban on production use of agricultural antibiotics in Denmark decreased the overall amount of antibiotics in animals but caused an increase in therapeutic uses, “often in classes of antibiotics considered more important or critical for human health.”Phillips, in an interview today, said Denmark saw a big drop in agricultural antibiotic use right after the ban, largely because a much greater proportion of overall use was for growth promotion than is true in the United States. “Over time, the amount they’ve used for treatment or therapy has more than doubled, so that total use is almost back to the same level as before the ban,” he added.He noted that detailed reports on animal antibiotic use in Denmark are available on a Danish government web site called DANMAP.Also at the press conference, Carnevale estimated that medically important antibiotics make up roughly half of the total volume of antibiotics used in food animals.Phillips, in the interview, said about 40% of the total volume of antibiotics used in animals are not used in humans and thus are not affected by the FDA proposal.Also involved in the press conference was Christine Hoang, DVM, MPH, assistant director of scientific activities at the American Veterinary Medical Association, who said her group was “extremely grateful” to the FDA for reaching out to major stakeholders in developing its policy. She said the AVMA was not yet ready to offer official comments on the FDA documents.See also: Apr 11 CIDRAP News story “FDA spells out voluntary plan for cutting ag antibiotic use”Animal Health InstituteDANMAP reports on ag antibiotic use in Denmarklast_img read more

Read More

FOOD OUTBREAK SCAN: Live-chick, mango Salmonella outbreaks over; more Listeria cheese cases

first_img Ricotta-cheese Listeria outbreak climbs to 20 casesThe multistate outbreak of listeriosis tied to ricotta cheese has grown by 2 cases to 20 and by one death to four, the CDC reported today. The two new cases, including one fatality, were in California, the agency said in an update on the outbreak, which involves 12 states and the District of Columbia. Nineteen of the 20 patients have been hospitalized. Of the four deaths, Listeria infection contributed to “at least two,” the CDC reported, adding that one stillbirth has also been attributed to the outbreak. On Sep 10 Forever Cheese Inc. of Long Island City, N.Y., issued a recall of its Frescolina Marte brand ricotta salata cheese. On Sep 14 the company expanded the recall and issued a market withdrawal of all cheeses it had imported from Frescolina Marte of Italy.Oct 12 CDC update CDC calls mango Salmonella outbreaks overThe CDC yesterday said concurrent outbreaks of two different Salmonella strains linked to contaminated mangoes appear to be over after sickening at least 143 people in 16 states. The Salmonella Braenderup outbreak affected 127 people in 15 states, and 33 required hospitalization. Illness-onset dates ranged from Jul 3 to Sep 1. Because of this outbreak, the Food and Drug Administration on Sep 13 blocked Agricola Daniella mangoes from Sinaloa, Mexico, from entering the United States until the importer can show the fruit is not contaminated. The second outbreak involved 16 cases of Salmonella Worthington infections in three states. Of 9 patients interviewed, 8 reported eating mangoes before becoming ill. Illness-onset dates were from Jul 19 to Sep 12. Also, one patient was co-infected with both strains, “a finding that suggests a possible connection between the two outbreaks,” the CDC said.Oct 11 CDC update Oct 12, 2012center_img CDC issues final updates on two Salmonella outbreaks linked to live poultryThe US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced today in separate updates that two Salmonella outbreaks linked to mail-order live poultry appear to be over. In the first outbreak, 93 people in 23 states and Puerto Rico contracted Salmonella Montevideo traced to contact with live baby poultry from Estes Hatchery in Springfield, Mo. Of those, 21 were hospitalized. One of the patients died, but the CDC said salmonellosis was not a contributing factor. Thirty-eight percent of case-patients were children 10 years old or younger. Illness-onset dates ranged from Feb 28 to Sep 15. In its previous outbreak update, on Jul 31, the CDC reported 76 cases.Oct 12 CDC update on Salmonella MontevideoThe second outbreak, of Salmonella Hadar, affected 46 people in 11 states, of whom 13 were hospitalized but none died. The outbreak was traced to an unnamed Idaho hatchery, and 30% of patients were 10 years old or younger. Illness-onset dates ranged from Mar 6 to Aug 12. In both updates the CDC reminded mail-order hatcheries, agricultural feed stores, and other outlets that sell live poultry to provide health-related information to customers, including material on the risk of contracting salmonellosis.Oct 12 CDC update on Salmonella Hadarlast_img read more

Read More

NEWS SCAN: More fungal meningitis cases, dengue in Portugal, Ebola in DR Congo, Hispaniola cholera plan

first_imgOct 9, 2012Fungal meningitis outbreak cases grow to 119 in 10 statesFourteen more cases and three more deaths have been reported in a fungal meningitis outbreak linked to steroid injections for back pain, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in an update today. The latest cases push the illness total to 119 and the death toll to 11. New Jersey reported its first case, raising the number of states affected to 10. The CDC’s latest map of clinics that received the recalled drug includes 76 clinics in 23 states. In another development, the agency yesterday posted instructions for clinical teams on diagnostic testing and submitting samples to the CDC. So far cultures or histopathologic studies have confirmed fungal infections in nine patients, including Aspergillus and Exserohilum. The CDC said the range of pathogens in the outbreak may not be fully known yet, and it urged clinicians to do a thorough work up with an algorithm it suggests as a supplement to testing and protocols ordered by clinical teams. The outbreak, not considered contagious, is linked to three lots of the preservative-free methylprednisolone acetate prepared by New England Compounding Center in Framingham, Mass. The CDC said recently that the drug was also used for joint-space injections, but so far no illnesses related to those procedures have been reported.Oct 9 CDC outbreak updateOct 8 CDC healthcare facility mapOct 8 CDC testing and sample submission guidanceECDC: Two dengue cases in Portugal appear locally acquiredTwo people in Madeira, a Portuguese resort island in the Atlantic, have dengue virus infections that appear to be locally acquired, which would be the first such cases in Europe since 2010, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) announced today. The Public Health Authority of Portugal reported the two cases on Oct 3, saying the patients had no recent history of travel abroad, the ECDC said. Investigations are ongoing to determine whether the cases are indeed indigenous. Also, some additional cases have been reported by the news media and are under investigation, the ECDC reported. “This is the first known occurrence of locally transmitted dengue infection in Madeira, and consequently a new geographical area reporting autochthonous cases in the EU,” the agency said. “There have been no reports of confirmed autochthonous dengue infections in the rest of Europe since the 2010 cases in France and Croatia.”Oct 9 ECDC statementMore deaths from Ebola in DRCThe number of Ebola cases in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) as of Oct 7 stood at 49, with 31 confirmed and 18 probable, said an alert yesterday from the World Health Organization (WHO). There have been 24 fatalities (10 in laboratory-confirmed and 14 in probable cases), which is four more than reported by WHO in a Sep 27 update. The cases are from Isiro and Viadana health zones in Haut-Ulele district of Orientale province. The DRC Ministry of Health and an international group of partners, including the US CDC, are examining all possible chains of transmission in hopes of stopping the outbreak. Experts have been deployed to the DRC, and response work in such areas as infection control, surveillance, case management, and training of healthcare workers is ongoing, the WHO said. The CDC continues to provide support in rapid diagnosis through a field laboratory the agency established in Isiro soon after the outbreak was first reported in August.Oct 8 WHO alertHaiti, Dominican Republic aim to oust cholera by 2022The governments of Haiti and the Dominican Republic are working on a plan to eliminate cholera from their shared island of Hispaniola by 2022, the Associated Press (AP) reported yesterday. Dominican Deputy Minister of Public Health Rafael Schiffino said the plan will include substantial spending on clean water and sanitation. A bilateral meeting to work on the plan started yesterday in the Dominican Republic. Since cholera surfaced in Haiti in October 2010, it has struck about 560,000 people and killed about 7,300, according to previous reports. The Dominican Republic has had 22,000 cases and 350 deaths since then, the AP story said. The disease was probably introduced in Haiti by United Nations peacekeepers.Oct 8 AP storylast_img read more

Read More

News Scan for Sep 11, 2013

first_imgScientists report large-scale cholera vaccine campaign possibleScientists who conducted the first large-scale cholera outbreak control campaign in Africa using oral vaccine reported yesterday in PLoS One that immunization was well accepted by the public and that high vaccination coverage is possible, even in remote settings.Forty-three immunization teams administered 312,650 doses of the newly approved Shanchol vaccine in the West African nation of Guinea in the spring of 2012, after cases began cropping up earlier than usual. The efforts marked the first use of Shanchol in Africa.As with previous cholera epidemics, cases were first reported on islands north and south of the capital, Conakry, in the coastal districts of Boffa and Forecariah. The islands are populated by highly mobile people in the fishing and trade industries who have limited access to healthcare, the authors said.Everyone 1 year and older in the two districts was eligible for immunization during both rounds, which were spaced 2 to 3 weeks apart. A household survey conducted immediately after the campaign found two-dose coverage in both districts to be about 76%, and one-dose coverage to be greater than 90%.The final outcome of the campaign will not be known until effectiveness studies are completed, the researchers said. They noted, however, that cholera activity peaked in other parts of Guinea during the rainy season but remained low in Boffa and Forecariah.From the decision to proceed to completion of vaccinations, the campaign took about 6 weeks. It was well-received by the population, according to the investigators.They conclude, “Oral cholera vaccines are a promising new tool in the arsenal of cholera control measures, alongside efforts to improve provision of safe water and sanitation and access to cholera treatment.”Sep 10 PLoS One report Los Angeles reports uptick in flu casesThe Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LACDPH) said it is receiving reports of lab-confirmed flu, which might signal an early start to the flu season for the area, according to a Sep 9 statement.The LACDPH also said the first flu hospitalization has been reported and that the strain is H1N1, which is covered by this year’s seasonal flu vaccine. Jonathan Fielding, MD, MPH, the department’s director of public health and health officer, said in the statement that occasional reports and even low levels of activity can continue through summer and early fall.He added that the recent uptick in cases should encourage people 6 months and older to get vaccinated. Despite the early flu activity, it’s impossible to predict how severe or mild the flu season will be, Fielding said.The 2012-13 flu season started about a month ahead of schedule and was dominated by the H3N2 strain, which boosted hospitalization rates, especially in seniors. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says flu season timing can vary from season to season, but can begin as early as October and can continue through May.Sep 9 LACDPH statement Minnesota study shows less H1N1 vaccine uptake in poorMinnesotans living in zip-code zones with lower median incomes were much less likely to receive the 2009 pandemic H1N1 (pH1N1) vaccine during the 2009-10 pandemic than those in high-income areas, researchers from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) found.Writing in the September issue of Minnesota Medicine, the investigators analyzed data from the Minnesota Immunization Information Connection, which showed that overall, 23% of Minnesotans received the pH1N1 vaccine.When subdivided by zip code, however, the data showed that only 49 of 268, or 18.3%, of zip-code zones with median income below $35,000 achieved vaccination rates greater than 25%. That compares with 69 of 163 (42.3%) for zip-code zones with a median income above $50,000.Similarly, only 42 of 214, or 19.6%, of zip-code regions with more than 8% of people below the poverty line reached the 25% vaccination mark, compared with 76 of 207 (36.7%) in regions with less than 3% of people in poverty.The differences were less striking by minority level but surprisingly showed that zip-code zones with more diversity had higher levels of 25%-or-better pH1N1 vaccine coverage. Of zones with less than a 1% non-Caucasian makeup, 25 of 120 (20.8%) attained that level, compared with 65 of 220 (29.5%) in zones with more than 5% non-Caucasian residents.This is counter to the findings of most studies, the authors say, and more research is needed to determine whether the differences had to do with the make-up of the minority populations or other socioeconomic factors.The researchers concluded, “Although a centralized system of vaccine distribution that relied heavily on the private sector worked well in Minnesota during the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic, work is needed to make sure the coverage gaps that existed are addressed when planning for a future pandemic.”September Minn Med studylast_img read more

Read More