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Bug

Deadly mosquito virus, eastern equine encephalitis, reported in Massachusetts

© Flaglerlive.com
While Saturday wasn't too hot or humid, like most of our summer has been, 22News found that our recent weather conditions have contributed to the arrival of a potentially deadly disease in the Bay State.

For the first time this year mosquitoes in Massachusetts have tested positive for eastern equine encephalitis, or triple E.

The Massachusetts Department of Health just confirmed that a July 15th laboratory test in Plymouth County has tested positive for EEE, a dangerous virus that can cause inflammation of the brain and in one third of cases, death.

Even though the only reported case of EEE in Massachusetts was more than 80 miles to our east, our chances in western Massachusetts of getting it just went up. But it probably wouldn't be the mosquitoes bringing it here.

Birds are typically the long-range carrier of EEE, taking the disease over many miles. Mosquitoes then bite the birds and become the local source for infection when they bite a human.
Attention

Oops! Smallpox and anthrax scandals cap history of fumbling dangerous materials

freebeacon.com

The CDC, NIH, and FDA have mishandled hazardous materials, but they aren't alone.


It sounds like the setup to an apocalyptic movie about a pandemic. Live samples of the deadly smallpox virus were found in an unused storage room at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland. Also hidden away in that forgotten room were 12 boxes and 327 vials filled with the viruses that cause dengue fever and influenza and the bacteria responsible for spotted fever.

Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced in June that an estimated 75 of its scientists had been inadvertently exposed to live anthrax bacteria without proper safety equipment. Last week, the CDC revealed that staffers had mishandled dangerous materials at least four times over the past decade, including transporting pathogens in Ziploc bags and sending a live sample of bird flu to a low-security lab that was ill-equipped to receive it.

This isn't a cinematic setup. These all-too-real blunders are just the latest in a long history of dangerous mistakes made by those entrusted with extremely hazardous materials, from viruses to nuclear warheads. No one was injured in any of these incidents. However, testifying before Congress last week, CDC Director Thomas Frieden admitted that his agency had "missed a critical pattern ... of an insufficient culture of safety."

Edwin Lyman, a senior scientist with the Union of Concerned Scientists' Global Security Program, says he isn't too surprised by the recent lapses.

"There is a level of complacency that creeps in among people who are entrusted with very high value targets and materials," he says. "In the absence of acute threats, many people let their guard down. They get sloppy."

Comment: With the emphasis on "dangerous mistakes" and "complacency" regarding these missing "extremely hazardous materials, from viruses to nuclear warheads"; there is also the distinct possibility of them having been stolen for false flag operations.

Info

Why the benefits of circumcision are based on false assumptions, erroneous conclusions and misleading medical information

Circumcision
© Prevent Disease
The current generation of infant males will have the lowest routine circumcision rates in 40 years. Recent surveys suggest that parents who say yes to circumcision end up regretting their decision. Courts in Europe have recently deemed the procedure equivalent to grievous bodily harm. The claimed health benefits are also being exposed for lacking any scientific evidence and are commonly based on myths and folklore.

Like most medical interventions at a very early age, an infant is not given a choice to consent to specific drugs and procedures. Circumcision is just one of them.

Dr. Laura Robertson from the Institute of Family Medicine in Los Angeles and her colleagues report that of 298 families interviewed one year after deciding on circumcising for their child, 206 families or almost 70% had at least one parent who expressed regrets about the decision.

More than 58% of the time, the mother showed the most negative emotions about the decision and 67% of the families were pressured by their spouse or another family member to circumcise.

Although close to 80 percent of U.S. boys born in the 1970s and 1980s were circumcised, that number decreased to 62.5 percent in 1999, and 54.7 percent in 2010 and is now well below 50%. The drop is mostly due to informed parents and not decreases in insurance coverage for circumcision.

Officials estimate that up to 40 percent fewer U.S. boys will have been circumcised in 2013 compared to just a few decades ago. "In the long-term clinics we have interviewed, some Physicians are claiming reductions over 50 percent compared to the 1980's," stated Dr. Robertson.
Ambulance

Drug-resistant mutated bacteria found downstream from sewage treatment plant in Coventry

scientist drug resistant bacteria
© Reuters / Joel Page
Scientists have found drug resistant super bugs downstream of a sewage treatment plant in the River Sowe near Coventry, media said.

The microbes contain mutated genes that are resistant even to the latest generation of antibiotics, the Independent reports.

The researchers said that sewage treatment plants are acting like giant "mixing vessels" where antibiotic resistance is spreading between microbes, which are then released into the environment.

A large number of microbes living in the river had a genetic mutation, which is known to provide resistance to third generation antibiotics or cephalosporins - a class of antibiotic used to treat hospital acquired infections, like blood infections and meningitis.

The scientists also found human gut bacteria in the river sediment that had developed resistance to Imipenem, a type of antibiotic used in severe infections not treatable with other antibiotics, which is administered using intravenous injections.

"This is a worrying development and we need to be concerned about it. We've completely underestimated the role waste-treatment processes can play in antibiotic resistance,"Professor Elizabeth Wellington, from the University of Warwick, who led the study, told the Independent.

Comment: Superbugs that are resistant to most known antibiotics are now a reality throughout the world, thanks to the over-prescribing of antibiotics for conditions that don't merit their use as well as the drugging of livestock. Fortunately, there is some hope that herbal and food sources may be still be able to treat some of these diseases.

Groups Sue FDA to Stop Addition of Antibiotics in Livestock Feed
Municipal Wastewater Spreads Antibiotic Resistance
'Devastating' implications of drug-resistant superbugs now a reality
Herbs and foods that kill superbugs

Pills

Bruce E. Levine: Illegal-Psychiatric drug hypocrisy and why Michael Pollan is smarter than I am

© paulista/Shutterstock.com
Before Pollan gained influence authoring books about food, he wrote articles about American psychotropic drug hypocrisy.

Before Michael Pollan gained well-deserved respect and influence authoring five bestselling books about food, he got my attention in the late 1990s writing articles about American illegal-legal psychotropic drug hypocrisy. For those of us who appreciate what Pollan later accomplished for the local food and real food movements, it's probably been a good idea that since 1999 he has stopped writing articles about drug hypocrisy, otherwise he might never have become so well-received.

If Pollan had continued his assault on American drug hypocrisy, he likely would have been attacked by many psychiatric drug users who mistakenly believed he was challenging their decision to choose psychiatric drugs. At least that's been my experience.

Comment: Read more about Bruce E. Levine's perspective on America's Love-Hate Relationship with Drugs and The Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America:

Attention

Big Pharma Alert: Antipsychotic meds may literally shrink your brain!

A study published today has confirmed a link between antipsychotic medication and a slight, but measurable, decrease in brain volume in patients with schizophrenia. For the first time, researchers have been able to examine whether this decrease is harmful for patients' cognitive function and symptoms, and noted that over a nine year follow-up, this decrease did not appear to have any effect.

As we age, our brains naturally lose some of their volume - in other words, brain cells and connections. This process, known as atrophy, typically begins in our thirties and continues into old age. Researchers have known for some time that patients with schizophrenia lose brain volume at a faster rate than healthy individuals, though the reason why is unclear.

Now, in a study published in the open access journal PLOS ONE, a team of researchers from the University of Oulu, Finland, and the University of Cambridge has identified the rate of decrease in both healthy individuals and patients with schizophrenia. They also documented where in the brain schizophrenia patients have more atrophy, and have examined links between atrophy and antipsychotic medication.
Cheeseburger

Eat your way to an early death: Processed foods hurt your immune system and gut health

© huffingtonpost.com
If you could make one change in your life that would lower your risk of chronic disease, help you lose weight, and make you feel happier and more energized, would you do it?

The one change I'm referring to is cutting back on processed foods. It's widely known that refined junk foods aren't good for your body as they're packed with sugar (including fructose), synthetic and rancid fats, preservatives, genetically modified (GM) ingredients, additives, and more.

Lesser known, yet equally important (if not more so), is the role of poor diet on inflammation and gut health - two factors that are intricately involved in virtually every aspect of your health.

In short, nearly all processed foods are the epitome of what you shouldn't be putting in your body. The research against processed foods is hard to deny, or ignore, any longer, especially in light of a new study highlighting processed foods' detrimental effect on your immune system and gut health (and that of future generations).
Health

Three more cases of life-threatening plague found in Colorado

© Rocky Mountain Laboratories/NIAID/NIH
Scanning electron micrograph depicting a mass of Yersinia pestis bacteria.
Three more plague cases were found in Colorado, a week after the first infection of the deadliest form of the disease was reported in the state in a decade.

The man initially reported with pneumonic plague on July 11 is hospitalized. Two of the new cases also had pneumonic plague, while the third had a milder form. All four cases may be linked to the original man's dog, which died from the illness, state health officials said.

The people newly-found to be infected were treated with antibiotics, recovered, and are no longer contagious. Health officials suspect the dog that died may been exposed to plague-infected fleas from a prairie dog or rabbit, said Jennifer House, a spokeswoman for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment department.

"We've had quite a number of cases this year," House said in a telephone interview. "We do believe the outbreak itself to be over."

Comment: See also:
  • 7-year-old Colorado girl contracts "black death" plague
  • Precursor? Rare and deadly form of plague contracted by Denver man


Footprints

Puerto Rico declares epidemic of mosquito-borne virus chikungunya; 200 confirmed cases

© Reuters/Ricardo Rojas
Puerto Rican health officials declared Thursday an epidemic of chikungunya, a mosquito-borne virus that has shown up in more than 200 confirmed cases across the island as of late last month.

Health Secretary Ana Rius said the majority of those cases were reported in the capital of San Juan and nearby areas.

The virus was introduced into the Caribbean region late last year, according to AP. The first chase of chikungunya in Puerto Rico was reported in late May.

Meanwhile, Jamaican health officials reported the nation's first confirmed case on Thursday. Dr. Kevin Harvey, chief medical officer for Jamaica, said chikungunya was found in someone who had recently traveled to a country where the virus has been transmitted locally.

Health officials in Florida also reported the first domestically acquired chikungunya infections in the United States. Both cases involved persons infected with the virus following visits to the Caribbean, then both were bitten by uninfected mosquitoes in Florida, which then transmitted the virus further.

Comment: This virus is making it's way around the globe...
  • Killer mosquito virus arrives in Europe
  • 4,600 affected by untreatable virus spreading through Caribbean islands
  • Incurable mosquito-borne chikungunya virus now found in six US states
  • Reports of individuals contracting mosquito virus chikungunya confirmed by health officials in Florida
  • Malaysia: Health ministry keeping a tab on Chikungunya virus
  • Indian Ocean virus infections climb in Mauritius


Info

Boy's ear problems had rare cause: Gut disease

Ear
© studio online/Shutterstock
A child's ear.
A 10-year-old boy in North Carolina suffered from ear pain and hearing problems for years before doctors were finally able to crack the case: He did not have an ear condition after all, but an underlying disease in the gut.

The boy saw multiple doctors for his ear symptoms, which included episodes of ear pain, bloody ear discharge and problems hearing. He was prescribed eardrops, antibiotics and other medications, but nothing seemed to help, said Dr. Eileen M. Raynor, a pediatric head-and-neck surgeon at Duke University Medical Center who treated the boy.

"It was like swimmer's ear gone crazy," Raynor said. "He was really miserable." The boy was also being treated for the skin condition psoriasis, and had skin lesions on his scalp and other parts of his body.

When the boy arrived at Raynor's center, his ears were red and inflamed, and were leaking pus, and his ear canals were narrow from inflammation. Raynor said she could not see his eardrums because the ear canals were so inflamed and damaged.

Doctors put the boy under anesthesia to perform a biopsy of his ear. Results from this biopsy and a second skin biopsy revealed that he had a skin condition that can occur as a complication of Crohn's disease.

Crohn's disease is a condition that causes swelling and irritation in the digestive tract, which can lead to symptoms such as abdominal pain and diarrhea. In rare cases, patients can develop skin disorders, eye inflammation and mouth sores, but nearly everyone who develops these complications has been diagnosed with Crohn's disease before the skin symptoms show up, Raynor said.
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