Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Chicago - O'Hare UFO video surfaces on Youtube

Let's start this report with some background.

The Chicago O'Hare UFO sighting concerns a time when some people said that they saw a saucer or disc-shaped UFO over Chicago O'Hare International Airport on November 7, 2006; the reports garnered national media attention.

At approximately 4:30 p.m on Tuesday November 7, 2006, federal authorities at Chicago O'Hare International Airport received a report that a group of twelve airport employees were witnessing a metallic, saucer-shaped craft hovering over gate C-17.

According to eyewitness reports, the strange object was first spotted by a ramp employee who was "pushing back" United Airlines flight 446 which was departing Chicago for Charlotte, North Carolina. The ramp worker then apprised the flight crew of UA446 of the existence of the spinning, metallic object above their aircraft, and it is believed that both the pilot and co-pilot of this aircraft also witnessed the object at that time.

According to Jon Hilkevitch of the Chicago Tribune in an interview on CNN's Glenn Beck program: "The disk was visible for approximately two minutes and was seen by close to a dozen United Airlines employees, ranging from pilots to supervisors, who heard chatter on the radio and raced out to view it." [1][2] The UFO was then seen to suddenly accelerate straight up through the overcast skies. Witnesses reported that the object left behind an open hole of clear air in the cloud layer and that the mysterious hole disappeared or "closed" within a few minutes. So far, no conclusive photographic evidence of the UFO has surfaced although it was reported to Hilkevitch that one of the United Airlines pilots was in possession of a digital camera at the time of the sighting and may have photographed the event[3].

Source: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Now after all this time a Video of the event has supposedly surfaced:

Here the video:

sitfu.com has the story about the video. Here is the link: Video

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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 11:19 PM   0 comments

H5N1 virus may be adapting to pigs in Indonesia

H5N1 virus may be adapting to pigs in Indonesia

Mar 31, 2009 (CIDRAP News) – Scientists report that H5N1 avian influenza viruses may be adapting to pigs, as evidenced by the finding that H5N1 viruses isolated from pigs in Indonesia were less harmful to mice than were H5N1 viruses from chickens.

The finding suggests that in growing in pigs, the virus may have become less harmful to mammals in general, the authors report. That sounds reassuring, but the authors say it may mean the virus is one step closer to turning into a human pandemic strain.

In the study, scientists from Japan and Indonesia collected viruses from chickens and pigs in Indonesia, grew them in laboratory cell cultures, and used them to infect mice. They found that the viruses from pigs were less lethal to mice than the viruses from chickens, according to their recent report in the Archives of Virology.

"We found that swine isolates were less virulent to mice than avian isolates, suggesting that the viruses became attenuated during their replication in pigs," the report states.

An intermediate host
Pigs are seen as a possible intermediate host that can help avian flu viruses adapt to humans, because the epithelial cells in pigs' trachea can be infected by both avian and human flu viruses, the article notes. If avian and human viruses infected a pig at the same time, they could mix or reassort, giving rise to a novel strain that might be able to spread in humans. The flu pandemics of 1957-58 and 1968-69 were caused by avian-human hybrid viruses, though it is not known if they arose in pigs.

But even if they don't mix with human strains, avian flu viruses that infect pigs are believed capable of adapting to them—gaining the capability to grow efficiently in swine cells—and thereby adapting to other mammals, the authors write. Humans occasionally are infected with swine flu viruses, something that has been reported at least twice this flu season in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

So far, H5N1 infections in pigs have been reported rarely or gone unnoticed because infected pigs show no signs of illness, the scientists write. But the authors, who include Chairul Nidom of Airlangga University in Surabaya, Indonesia, report that they found H5N1 infections in pigs in Indonesia in 2005, 2006, and 2007. They determined that the swine viruses were closely related to viruses in chickens found nearby, indicating H5N1 spread from chickens to pigs at least three different times.

They gathered three viruses from pigs and two from chickens on East Java in 2006 and 2007. They first determined that all the viruses grew well in embryonated eggs and in cultures of canine kidney cells, demonstrating that both avian and swine strains could grow in mammalian cell cultures. They then infected groups of mice with a range of doses of the five isolates.

The results showed that all three pig viruses were less virulent in mice than the chicken viruses were, as measured by how large a dose it took to kill half of the mice. Two of the pig isolates were "strongly attenuated" in mice.

In a genetic analysis, the scientists found several amino acid differences that might explain the lower virulence of the swine isolates, but they "were unable to determine which mutations were strongly correlated to low virulence in mice because these mutations are frequently found among avian and human H5N1 viruses," the report says.

Prelude to a pandemic strain?
The authors offer this interpretation of their findings: "Since our swine strains were isolated from pigs with no apparent influenza-like symptoms, the decrease of pathogenicity in mice suggests that the H5N1 viruses may have lost their pathogenicity in mammals during replication in pigs. Given that for the H5N1 viruses to cause a pandemic, they would likely become attenuated in humans, becoming attenuated in mammals may be a prelude to the generation of a pandemic strain."

They add that because H5N1 infections in swine increase the risk that a pandemic strain could emerge, the findings point up the need for "continuous surveillance and management of H5N1 viruses in pigs."

The findings may mean that H5N1 viruses from swine will be less virulent in mammals generally, but it's not clear that the viruses have truly adapted to swine, said Richard Webby, PhD, a virologist, flu researcher, and associate member of the Department of Infectious Diseases at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis.

Noting that the study authors used only five isolates, Webby said, "Trying to make too much of a conclusion from that number would be premature. The two least lethal viruses were both from swine, but one [swine isolate] was lethal. So perhaps if these become adapted to mammals, they're potentially going to be less pathogenic."

Whether H5N1 viruses become more or less virulent when they adapt to mammals is a very important question, he said, adding that the findings "might be to some extent reassuring."

Regarding the authors' statement that attenuation of the virus in mammals might be a prelude to the development of a pandemic strain, Webby commented, "I guess the thought behind that is that for a pathogen to be successful, it's got to transmit readily, so if it makes the host too sick, so they go to a hospital or die, the chances of its transmitting to someone else are reduced."

But Webby told CIDRAP News that it's not clear that H5N1 viruses have really become established in swine anywhere. "If these viruses have gone into swine, I think the key is whether they become established in swine. If that happened, we'd be concerned. I think the consensus now is that pigs are like humans; they can be infected, but it's unlikely there'd be a lot of transmission."

He said US Department of Agriculture researchers have infected pigs with H5N1 viruses and found that the viruses didn't grow at all. But those researchers used viruses that didn't come from pigs in the first place. He noted that pigs often are fed broken eggs or even chicken carcasses, and such pigs might carry the virus in their snouts without becoming truly infected.

Webby suggested that researchers now should "put these swine viruses back into swine and see if they actually are more adapted to swine than the avian viruses."

Here is a link to a site that is dedicated to following the H5N1 Virus: Site

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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 4:36 PM   0 comments

Boy Found Infected with EV71 in HK

I have been following the spread of the Hand, Foot, and Moth disease in China.

You can read all the reports at this link: Disease

Here is just a sample from some of the stories:

New outbreaks reported Tuesday in three Chinese provinces and Beijing put the number of children infected with hand, foot and mouth disease above 12,000 and the death toll has risen to at least 26 across the country.

The official Xinhua News Agency said outbreaks in southwest Yunnan, the northeastern province of Jilin and the tropical island of Hainan, putting the total number of infections at 12,164.

Then we had this update:

The number of cases across China has climbed to 15,799, up from 12,000 reported on Tuesday. Officials said that the rise was due to tighter rules on reporting and not because of the spread of the infection.

Today I just came across this report:

Boy Found Infected with EV71 in HK

The Center for Health Protection (CHP) of the Hong Kong's Department of Health Tuesday confirmed a case of Enterovirus-71 (EV71) infection involving a 10- year-old boy and urged the public to be vigilant against the disease.

A CHP spokesman said the boy had presented with fever and rash over his hands and feet since March 25. He was admitted to hospital on March 29 and is now in stable condition.

His throat swab specimen tested positive for EV71.

There was no Hand-Foot-Mouth Disease (HFMD) outbreak in the primary school that the boy attended and his family contacts had no symptoms of HFMD.

This is the ninth case reported to the CHP this year. There were 16 cases of EV71 in 2006, 12 in 2007 and 98 in 2008 respectively in Hong Kong

You can read the entire report at this link: EV71

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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 3:50 PM   0 comments

UFO Spotted Over East Coast

It's too soon to be an April Fool's Day prank, but the U.S. Air Force said that a series of flashing lights and booming sounds sighted and heard over Virginia recently must be a UFO.

On Sunday night, March 29th, witness described seeing odd lights, booming noises and in some instances a fireball in the sky over the Richmond area.

Initially, the disturbance was explained as part of a Russian rocket breaking up on reentry.

Geoff Chester, public relations officer with the US Naval Observatory said that the disturbance was consistent with the expected path of the booster rocket from the Soyuz spacecraft, which launched Thursday on a mission to the international space station.

But on Tuesday, March 13, Stefan Bocchino of the USAF Joint Space Operations Center said in an e-mail to WTOP radio in Virgina that the bright light was not the result of a man made object.

While the Joint Space Operations Center tracks man made objects, in space they do not track natural objects such as meteorites.

According to Cornell University, it is estimated that somewhere between 2900-7300 kilograms of meteors per year hit Earth. Most of these are dust-sized particles that burn up in the Earth's atmosphere.

Here is the link to the original report: UFO

Did some searching and found the following reports:

Upset about that fireball? Blame the Russians, not the Klingons

UPDATEThe air force is disputing the Russian rocket story, saying it was a meteor.

That green-tailed fireball streaking across Hampton Roads on Sunday could have been Russian space junk hurtling toward its demise on the other side of the world.

A spokesman for the Naval Observatory said Monday that a discarded rocket booster from last week's Soyuz space flight was in a decaying orbit and projected to pass over southeastern Virginia before 10 p.m. That's roughly the time that Marianne Mills, of Newport News and scores of other area residents saw a jaw-dropping light show.

A flash lit up the sky, and a fiery "something" sped toward the horizon.

"I've seen meteors before," Mills said, "but I've never seen anything like that."

There might be a good reason.

Geoff Chester, an observatory spokesman, began investigating the matter Monday morning after reports surfaced of a lightninglike flash, a colorful fireball and an explosion or boom.

A bright meteor was one possibility.

"That's usually the first thing that pops into my mind," Chester said.

But just to be safe, he checked computer records that track falling space debris. The second stage of a Soyuz rocket that helped send a crew to the International Space Station last week was scheduled to pass over Hampton Roads around the time of the disturbance.

"Whether this was the rocket booster or not, I can't tell you definitely," he said. "It just seems awfully coincidental that you would have a bright fireball following the path of a decaying rocket booster."

Authorities are fairly certain about what it was not.

The National Weather Service at Wakefield ruled out an atmospheric disturbance. The Federal Aviation Administration said commercial air traffic was not affected. And airports in Norfolk, Richmond and Newport News had nothing unusual to report.

Neither Langley Air Force Base nor Oceana Naval Air Station was conducting military exercises that could explain it.

"We don't have any insight into it," said Kelley Stirling, an Oceana spokeswoman. "We're all having the same conversation here."

Sure, a new "Star Trek" film debuts in May, but the Klingons aren't claiming responsibility — at least not yet.

However, the National UFO Reporting Center in Washington state received several calls from Virginia and Maryland based on Sunday's sighting.

"My temptation is to suggest that it almost certainly was a meteor, but we don't know that yet," said Peter Davenport, director. "All we know is that people saw a fireball."

Whatever truth is out there, it made the night more interesting for Mills.

She was driving east on Interstate 64 around New Kent County shortly before 10 p.m. when something flashed above her.

Here is the link to the rest of the report: UFO

Mysterious flash/boom rocks eastern seaboard, including firsthand reports

A mysterious flash of light, followed by a loud boom was reported by thousands of people from Maryland through North Carolina, prompting many calls to local 911 centers. The event also received massive media attention. So far, authorities have only been able to rule out that it wasn't a meteorological event. The following are some of the reports that were coming into the Mutual UFO Network headquarters:

Richmond, Virginia - 9:45-10:05 p.m. - Two witnesses observed what they described as resembling a green meteor shoot down from the sky toward the ground. The first witness' husband came outside to see what she was looking at. He looked in the opposite direction from where his wife had spotted the object, but nothing was seen. He continued to scan the night sky when he saw a bright white orb appear in the western sky, shooting horizontally from right to left for a couple of seconds, before vanishing.

Chesapeake, Virginia - 9:30 p.m. - Witness observed a flash in the sky followed with a loud boom unlike the jets they have in the area. Within a few seconds a second boom was heard, but it was not as loud as the first. The witness indicated he later heard several similar reports over his local television news.

Virginia Beach, Virginia - (time not provided) - Witness was driving home when he noticed what appeared to be lightning-like flashes in the sky above his car. He stopped the car to get out to have a better look. The whole night sky lit up a bluish color and he saw something burning, followed by large orange sparks falling from behind the object's path of travel. It was followed by a large boom, then disappeared.

You can read all the reports at this link: UFO

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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 3:05 PM   0 comments

Public Protection of Political Gain?

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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 1:58 PM   0 comments

Cat Mutilation News Reports

I was sent an e-mail containing links to news reports about Cat Mutilations. Here are the reports:

Mutilated Cats Found In St. Petersburg Neighborhood

From July 8, 2008

ST. PETERSBURG - Detectives are investigating reports of mutilated cats found by residents of an enclave on 49th Street North, the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office said.

The most recent incident was Friday when Anthony Bartolo found his 10-year-old cat, Fluffy, in the front yard, according to a sheriff's office incident report.

The feline's throat had been cut, Bartolo said.

"It's really devastating," he said. "If you can take a knife to a cat and cut its throat, you're a sick person."

Bartolo's neighbor, Lois Fuller, said five of her cats have gone missing - and one has shown up mutilated - since March.

In June, Fuller, 58, said she found her cat with a straight cut along its ribcage and its organs pulled out.

The reports prompted the sheriff's office Tuesday to assign a detective to the case, sheriff's spokeswoman Marianne Pasha said.

The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of Tampa Bay is also investigating, SPCA spokeswoman Marissa Segundo said.

Bartolo, 47, said it is unlikely another animal attacked his cat because the wound was "a straight cut, like a razor."

Fuller said she too thinks it was a person who mutilated her cat.

"We're thinking along the line of a satanic cult," she said. "That's what it is."

Fuller and her neighbors now keep watch after dark, she said. Some residents stay up until 2 a.m., and others wake up at 4 a.m. and stroll the streets looking for anything suspicious, she said.

"We've all got our eyes open right now," Fuller said.

Bartolo said he's offering a $500 reward for information that leads to an arrest.

Anyone with information can call the SPCA of Tampa Bay at (727) 586-3591.

Cat deaths are considered cruelty cases

From August 20, 2008

ST. PETERSBURG — The head of a cat was found in front of a newspaper box this spring, its separated paws seemingly placed next to it.

In three more incidents reported this summer, cats were found eviscerated, victims of mysterious attacks.

• A tan Siamese Hemingway was found cut in half on June 24.

• A black cat was dismembered in the front yard of a Pinellas Point home in July.

• A white, tan and black cat was "cleanly severed" behind the shoulders on Aug. 10.

Mother Nature at work?

Some think otherwise.

"We figured it was obviously animal cruelty,'' said firefighter Albert Vildostegui, who rushed from the Lake Maggiore fire station June 24 to find a dead cat in the grassy median of Lake Maggiore Boulevard S just east of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street.

It was "a pretty clean cut right in the middle of the body." There was little blood.

Suspicion of foul play is common when people find the badly damaged bodies of animals, said Greg Andrews, the operational manager for Pinellas County Animal Services.

In July, Pinellas County deputies investigated a case of several apparently mutilated cats in a neighborhood near 49th Street N. They decided that those deaths were the work of hungry animals.

But to some, the St. Petersburg killings appear different. The injuries seem more methodical.

On July 11 police found what appeared to be half a black cat in the front yard of a home in the 6700 block of Pinellas Point Drive S. There was no blood.

On Aug. 10, someone found a cat's head and shoulders near Lake Maggiore Boulevard and Fourth Street S. The hind quarters were not found.

"The body did not appear to have been attacked by other animals as neither the fur or remaining organs were pulled or torn," according to a police report.

"Maliciously cut with an unknown device," the report said.

The same report mentions perhaps the most disturbing incident yet: apparently severed paws and a head placed against a newspaper vending box, also near Maggiore Boulevard and Fourth Street S.

Police say they don't know much about the possibility of ritual cat killings. So far, they are investigating the incidents as a pattern of animal cruelty calls.

"We have no leads or clues in these reports," police spokesman Bill Proffitt said.

Reward Offered in Destin, Florida Animal Cruelty Case

From June 2006

The Case:
According to The Panhandle Animal Welfare Society and Northwest Florida Daily News, on the morning of May 26, "Spot", a 16-year-old calico cat, was found deceased by his owner on the front lawn of his home on Holly Street. Spot's body was mutilated and a necropsy revealed Spot had been skinned with a knife. Since investigators did not find blood on the scene they believe that Spot was killed elsewhere and returned to the home.

Cats Mutilated in Austin, Texas

DALLAS (August 14, 2001) -The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is offering a $2,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for mutilating and killing at least 10 cats, but possibly more, in the Austin, Texas area from March through July. Neighbors in the Anderson Mill Estates community, where some of the cats have been abducted, have pooled about $4,000 for the reward fund as well.

The cats apparently all suffered similar trauma, having been found cut in half or dismembered in pieces. At least one of the cats was missing organs. In at least five of the cases, one part of the cat's body had been returned to the owner's property soon after the killing. In all of the cases, the cats had been let outdoors for a relatively short period of time before they turned up dead. A veterinarian who examined one of the cat corpses said he believes the killing had been done "deliberately and traumatically, most probably with a moderately sharp knife or perhaps a serrated knife."

Investigators seek clues to cat mutilations
CNN - Jun 26, 2003SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (AP) -- If the person who has killed and mutilated 11 cats in the city's Avenues neighborhood is trying to send a message, ...

Cat Mutilations Spread Fear of Cults in Suburb
New York Times - Aug 13, 1989
The reports of horrible new nocturnal mutilations come almost weekly, the latest last weekend,

States Baffled By Cat Mutilations Colorado, Utah Investigators...
CBS News - Jun 20, 2003(AP) Authorities investigating a string of cat mutilations in the Denver area are talking with Salt Lake City police to determine whether there is any ...

Police in two states probe cat mutilations; death toll hits 42
Denver Post - NewsBank - Jun 29, 2003Two more mutilated cats were found in Aurora on Saturday, the latest in a series of similar mutilations that have left as many as 42 cats in the metro area ...

Police investigate cat mutilations At least 8 have been killed, left...
Dallas Morning News - NewsBank - Aug 26, 1998Police are investigating a spate of pet mutilations in a Far North Dallas neighborhood, where as many as eight cats have been found decapitated or ...

Cat Mutilations A Mystery
KWTX - Oct 25, 2007(October 25, 2007)--Another mutilated cat was found in San Antonio, this one cut with a "scalpel-like" instrument. It is the 11th incident in three weeks in ...

Animal Shelters Team Up To Stop Cat Mutilations
woai.com - Oct 19, 2007Local animal shelters are banning together to stop the troubling cat mutilations going on citywide. So far, six cats have been found killed. ...

Another Cat Found Mutilated in Texas, Bringing Total to 13 Since April
DigitalJournal.com - Aug 14, 2008Is it a serial cat killer or just some weirdo hurting the animals as a means to gain attention? The reason isn't yet known but another mutilated feline has ...

more to come...

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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 9:52 AM   1 comments

René Descartes

It's the birthday of the father of modern philosophy and modern mathematics: the rationalist René Descartes, (books by this author) born in La Haye, Touraine, France (1596). His most famous phrase is "Cogito ergo sum," or "I think, therefore I am."

He was sent away to study at a Jesuit school. The priests allowed him to stay in bed all morning because of his delicate health, and this became a routine that he followed throughout his life. When he met his fellow mathematician Blaise Pascal in 1647, he told Pascal that the only way to stay in excellent health and to do good mathematical work was to not allow anyone to get you up in the morning until you were ready.

It was during one of his mornings in bed that Descartes invented coordinate geometry, while he watched a fly hovering in the air. He realized that the fly's position at any moment could be described as its distance from three intersecting lines or axes.

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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 9:04 AM   0 comments

Monday, March 30, 2009

Stop Me From Killing Myself!

Suicide, suicide wishing I were dead.
Suicide, suicide deep in my head.
Suicide, suicide cutting my wrists.
Suicide, suicide I'm so done with this.

2 days,2 days let until I die.
2 days,2 days til the last tear I'll cry.
2 days,2 days until I am all gone.
2 days,2 days til the dark breaks the dawn.

Suicide, suicide deep inside my head.
Suicide, suicide now I'm alomst dead.
Suicide, suicide turn out the light.
Suicide, suicide good bye, good night.

Amber Zitzloff

Join me at 11:00pm Central time as I discuss the topic of sucide live on Blog Talk Radio.

Here is the audio from the show:

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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 10:33 PM   0 comments

Argentina: A Cattle Mutilation in Victoria

On the evening of March 28, 2009, a new mutilation took place in the city of Victoria, Province of Entre Rios (Argentina) at a small ranch owned by Mr. Ignacio Oñativia. A yearling calf was found mutilated, displaying the same incisions we have been seeing since 2002. The clean cuts can be seen in the photographs, with nothing but small traces of blood left behind. The details surrounding the case are unique: in conversation with Mr. Oñativia, he told me that he only kept four (4) animals at that location, among them a rather troublesome calf who posed a problem when it came to putting it in a pen. However, last night, when he entered his ranch, he saw the three animals inside the pen without anyone's prompting. This drew his attention, and made him think that the missing [calf] must surely be dead.

He said to himself that the same situation always seemed to happen - whenever he brought animals from the island, one of them died. He set out to find the missing one. Upon finding it, the first thought that crossed his mind was that it could have died of hoof-and-mouth disease, but when he approached it, he quickly realized that a mutilation was involved. He came to find me at the Museo OVNI and took me to the site, so that I could see for myself.

This location is only meters away from the entrance roundabout to Victoria from Gualeguay, 100 meters from the high voltage wires and 1000 meters from El Ceibo Creek, elements that are never missing in cattle mutilations.

I would like to extend my thanks to the Oñativia family, especially Mr. Ignacio, who not only came to find me, but also assisted me in videotaping and photographing the animal, as the dark of night was complete.

Here is the link to the original article: Mutilation

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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 2:16 PM   0 comments

Study: Wind Spreads Disease Faster Than Thought

Plant and human diseases that travel with the wind can spread more quickly than previously believed, according to a study at Oregon State University and elsewhere. The findings cause concern not only for some human diseases but also a new fungus that threatens global wheat production.

The research concludes that invading diseases do not always progress in an orderly, constant rate and that some airborne pathogens can actually accelerate as they move.

"It's now becoming clear that some types of diseases can spread more rapidly and widely than we anticipated," said Chris Mundt, a professor of plant pathology at OSU. "This makes it especially important, in some cases, to stop a spreading disease quickly if you hope to stop it at all."

The studies explain, in part, how West Nile Virus spread so rapidly across the United States when experts had been expecting a slower movement.

They help analyze the progression of some historic disease problems, such as the potato blight that led to the Irish potato famine of the mid-1840s. And they suggest that a new fungal wheat pathogen that emerged a few years ago in Uganda may be a bigger threat to world production than first thought.

Mundt, an international expert on pathogens of several important food crops, has studied wheat stem rust for years.

"If we didn't have crops that could resist wheat stem rust, we pretty much wouldn't have a wheat industry," Mundt said. "From this pathogen we've learned a lot about plant disease resistance in general.

"And this new study confirms that it is crucial to get prepared for the rapid spread of a new variety of wheat stem rust that appeared in Uganda in 1999."

The new wheat stem rust, Mundt said, could attack 75 percent of the world's known wheat varieties, and in a bad year might cause up to 50 percent crop losses in some areas.

"We don't want to suggest that the sky is falling, but major losses could occur if the right set of conditions converges," Mundt said. "This is something that we shouldn't take a chance on. It's already spread to Iran, and the new research shows that its global spread may be about to pick up speed."

He said there is little time to waste. "This wheat disease problem could be global within a few years," Mundt said. "We would be foolish to ignore it."

Most plant and animal diseases spread by contact or proximity tend to move in a fairly predictable way, researchers say. But some carried by wind-carried spores or migrating birds can spread rapidly.

From 2004-06 the avian bird flu spread across parts of Africa, Europe and Asia through migrating birds. From New York City in 1999, the West Nile Virus spread across most of North America within three years.

"It was surprising to see how closely the spread of very different plant, animal and human diseases followed the same mathematical relationship," Mundt said. "This is giving us a better ability to predict how various types of diseases may move, and hopefully prepare for them."

The study was published recently in The American Naturalist, a professional journal.

Here is the link to the original story: Wind

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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 2:12 PM   0 comments

Lao province at risk of bird flu outbreak

HANOI, March 30 (Xinhua) -- Many areas of Phongsaly province of Laos are at risk of infection from the H5N1 bird flu virus as local people are continuing to bring in poultry and eggs illegally from neighboring countries, the Lao newspaper Vientiane Times reported Monday.

Provincial authorities find it hard to identify when and where there's a virus outbreak as people can walk or drive across and engage in casual trade of poultry easily at border areas without checkpoints, said provincial Livestock and Fisheries Deputy Head Somnith Keoboun-ngune.

Last month there was an outbreak of the virus in Khua district, Phongsaly province. Now the outbreak is over and the district was declared bird-flu free today, said Somnith.

To prevent the spread of the virus to other districts, the provincial avian influenza control committee together with district and village committees culled about 2,600 poultry in 11 villages and set up checkpoints, said Somnith.

The provincial livestock and fisheries sector will work with the sectors concerned in leading a public campaign about bird flu, said Somnith.

Here is the link to the original report: Bird Flu

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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 11:01 AM   0 comments

Sunday, March 29, 2009

What Is EV71 And Why Are Kids Dying In China?

Here is some important information realting to the spread of hand, foot and mouth disease in china.

The recent outbreak in China of enterovirus 71 has been called Hand, foot and mouth disease. HFMD is a common illness in infants and children. In most cases it is a mild condition that doesn’t require medical treatment and goes away in 7 to 10 days.
While HFMD is a common ailment of children and is widespread in North American daycares the virus in China is the EV71 which is a much more serious form. The main concern isn’t the virus itself but the syndromes that can come from it including acute flaccid paralysis (similar to paralytic poliomyelitis), bulbar and brain encephalitis, Guillain-Barre syndrome, and rapidly fatal pulmonary edema and hemorrhage.

In 1998 a huge outbreak took place in Taiwan. From March to December 1998 there were 129,106 cases of the disease reported in the nation’s children. That is just the reported cases. It was estimated that the total number of children that came down with the disease was over one million. 405 children had the most severe cases and in 19.3 percent of those cases death was the final outcome. All of the children who died were under the age of five although older children did have severe cases.

In an autopsy it was revealed that the presence of the EV 17 virus had invaded the spinal cord. When these children went to hospital they have generally already suffered for 2 to 4 days with high fevers. Once they were so sick that they were hospitalized the children died within 24 hours. Almost all of the children in the Taiwan outbreak died from pulmonary edema and hemorrhage or after they developed brain-stem encephalitis.

While prior to the outbreak in Taiwan it was thought that the only mode of transmission was fecal-oral it has started to be believed that it can also be transmitted by respiratory transmission.

The transmission of this disease can linger for months after recovery as it stays present in the feces for at least two months.

There is no set treatment for the virus. Rather doctors have to wait for a symptom to develop and then treat.

Once a child has HFMD they should be excluded from child care and school until any blisters have healed. If a child has Enterovirus 71 neurological disease they should be isolated from other children until their feces are clear of the virus.

China is in the early stages of this disease. With 22 children having already died in Fuyang it is sad to say but chances are the virus will be present during the time span of the Summer Games in Beijing.

There have already been reports of other areas in the Anhui provision where Fuyang is of children being ill and two probable deaths from the virus.

Will Beijing be safe for the athletes come August? Because the virus is most prevalent in young children it would appear so. Still that leads to the question of the safety of the youngest tourist coming to witness the games. There is a slim chance that children should stay away if the virus spreads to Beijing. It is always better to err on the side of caution when considering the risks to children’s health.

Here is the link to the original source: EV71

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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 9:48 PM   0 comments

China hand, foot and mouth virus epidemic getting worse

China is asking medical personnel countrywide to go house-to-house to help stop an outbreak of hand, foot and mouth disease which has now killed 19 children thus far this year.

“The epidemic is getting worse and infections are expected to peak between May and July,” Deng Haihua, director of the information office of the Ministry of Health (MOH), stated in a press conference.

40 Chinese children died in the spring of 2008 and thousands more were infected when the sickness was linked with enterovirus 71, which could cause a severe form of the disease characterised by high fever, paralysis and meningitis.

Heze city reported 1,734 HFMD cases between Jan. 1 and midnight Friday, according to the city’s health bureau. Just on Friday, 440 cases were reported

The hand, foot and mouth virus typically affects babes and children. Although some cases can be deadly, most are mild with children recovering quickly. It is spread by direct contact with nose and throat discharges, saliva, fluid from blisters, or the stool of infected persons.

Here is the link to the original story: China

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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 9:26 PM   0 comments

New Radio Program!

We are trying something new here at the Worldview blog. We have created the Worldview Radio Program!

Today we did the first ever broadcast! It was not that good but we are still learning and trying to figure out how everything works.

Here is the link to the program: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/Trevor-Hammack

During the program I mentioned the situation in China and the spread of hand, foot and mouth disease. I had a number of people ask questions about this so here is some additonal information:

China county accused of child virus cover-up

BEIJING, March 24 (Reuters) - Chinese state media accused a local government on Tuesday of covering up the number of children suffering from hand, foot and mouth disease and the number of deaths.

The government of Minquan county in central Henan province said only one child was killed by the virus, but there may be at least 10 more deaths cases in the region, the official China National Radio said on its website (www.cnr.cn).

"(The death toll) should be no less than double figures," the report said, citing anonymous hospital sources. Double figures in Chinese means more than 10.

Hand, foot and mouth is a common childhood illness and rarely fatal, but it can cause fever, mouth sores and rashes with blisters.

There were possibly more than 2,000 children who had been infected by the disease, contradicting the official number of 277, since January, the report added, citing two doctors in Minquan People's Hospital.

Several officials had been punished for "failing to act" to contain the disease, the official Xinhua news agency said.

Calls to the Henan Health Bureau and Minquan local government went unanswered.

Xinhua said two toddlers died from hand, foot and mouth disease in neighbouring Shandong province. There were more than 502 cases in the city, a "high increase" from the same period last year, it said.

Earlier this year, a 17-month-old boy died of the disease in Lixin county in neighbouring Anhui province.

More than 40 Chinese children died in the spring of 2008 and thousands were infected when the illness was linked with enterovirus 71, which can cause a severe form of the disease characterised by high fever, paralysis and meningitis.

An outbreak in Fuyang, also in Anhui, was not made public until late April last year, provoking calls for officials to be sacked and triggering memories of the deadly SARS epidemic in 2003 that was also initially covered up.

Here is the link to the original report: Virus

more to come on this subject

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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 3:51 PM   0 comments

China on high alert for virus that has killed 19 kids

The following is being reported by GMA News:

BEIJING – China's health minister has urged medical workers to fan out across the country's rural areas to detect and prevent cases of hand, foot, and mouth disease, which has already killed 19 children this year, state media reported Sunday.

The official Xinhua News Agency said Chen Zhu told health officials to visit every village and household in the countryside to check for cases of the child virus, after health officials said Friday that more than 41,000 cases had been detected as of March 27.

The report said the virus has killed 19 children this year, one higher than the figure given on Friday.

The outbreak appears more widespread than in recent years, based on previously released data, with about twice the number of children infected compared to the same period last year.

Chen said in a teleconference Saturday that local health authorities should report such infections promptly to the ministry and that experts should be sent to help in places where the disease is prevalent, Xinhua reported.

The disease typically strikes infants and children, and while occasionally deadly, most cases are mild, with children recovering quickly after suffering little more than a fever and rash.

State media reported last year that the virus sickened 27,000 people and killed dozens in the first few months of 2008 before reports of outbreaks subsided in May. China's central Anhui was the worst-hit province with 26 deaths. It's not known how many died nationwide.

Hand, foot, and mouth disease is characterized by fever, mouth sores and a rash with blisters. It is spread by direct contact with nose and throat discharges, saliva, fluid from blisters, or the stool of infected persons. It is not related to hoof and mouth disease, which infects cattle, sheep and pigs.

Here is the link to the original story: Virus

Links to additional reports:

18 children fall victim to disease outbreak

China is facing a serious situation in the control of hand-foot-mouth disease (HFMD) with 41,846 cases recorded so far this year as of Thursday, resulting in the deaths of 18 infants, a senior health official said on Friday.

"The epidemic is getting worse and infections are expected to peak between May and July," Deng Haihua, director of the information office of the Ministry of Health (MOH), told a press conference.

Contagious disease kills 18 kids in PRC

Highly infectious hand, foot and mouth disease has killed 18 children and infected nearly 42,000 in China this year, with the peak period still to come, a government official said yesterday.
"Currently the situation in our country on controlling the hand, foot and mouth disease is rather serious," health ministry spokesman Deng Haihua told journalists.

"The epidemic is in a stage of increasing... and we expect the peak period will come between May and June."

More to come...

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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 8:20 AM   0 comments

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Africanized Honey Bees

The following was reported by the, East Valley Tribun.

Five emergency calls in five hours were enough to prompt fire officials here to put out word that bee season has arrived, and that it could be a busy one after a wet winter.

Bees swarm in the spring as groups break away from overcrowded colonies, often setting up hives in places that bring them in contact with people. That’s no small issue with aggressive Africanized honeybees established around Arizona.

“When you run into bees and there’s an actual attack, immediately call 911. Do not delay,” said Hugh Chase, a public information officer with the Phoenix Fire Department.

Kevin Hodgson, owner of The Beekeeper: Total Bee Control, joined Chase at a news conference last week to show bees and a honeycomb he’d removed that morning from a tree in a woman’s front yard. It’s been a busy season so far because of winter rain, he said.

“When it rains a lot, there’s more pollen and nectar on the plants,” he said. “That gives the bees a lot of food, which increases the number of swarms.”

Osman Kaftanoglu, project manager of the School of Life Sciences´ Honey Bee Research Laboratory at Arizona State University’s Polytechnic Campus in Mesa, said all indications point to many swarms this spring.

“It will be a busy bee season and there will be a lot of swarms this month and next month,” Kaftanoglu said. “Due to the winter rains there are a lot of flowers blooming this time of year.”

However, Diana Sammataro, a research entomologist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Carl Hayden Bee Research Center in Tucson, said it’s impossible to predict what will happen.

“There’s no way of knowing because no one is tracking where swarms come from,” Sammataro said. “Bee season depends on how many colonies there are in the winter, the climate and the location.”

Africanized honeybees are dangerous to humans and pets because they respond aggressively and in large numbers to perceived threats, making them far more dangerous than European honeybees. The so-called killer bees arrived in southern Arizona in 1993 and since have been found in every county.

Those who are attacked should run away from the bees or get inside buildings, closing doors behind them. Diving into a pool doesn’t help; the bees will wait for a person to surface.

Chase, with the Phoenix Fire Department, said the best protection is taking steps to avoid provoking bees, such as staying on hiking trails and not trying to take a closer look at a bee hive.

Here is the link to the original story: Bees

Here is an additional report:

Officials: Wet winter could make for a busy bee season

Here is the link to the above video report: Killer Bees

More information to come...

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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 8:06 PM   0 comments

Cat Mutilations

A few day's ago I posted an article on Cattle Mutilations. You can read that post at this link: Cattle

Today I came across a report about Cat Mutilations happening in Texas.


A cat was found mutilated with only its head and leg found in the Southside Tuesday night and a detective is currently investigating the crime.

According to CrimeStoppers, there have already been 13 cat mutilations in the city since April. Tuesday's cat mutilation happened on the 4200 block of Yorktown.

A man was riding his bike down the road when he spotted parts of a cat's body dumped on the ground. After his discovery, he immediately called police.

"The parts that we saw this morning was just the head, right behind the ears and one foreleg from the shoulder down," Veternarian Tom House with Animal Care Services said.

House said he wasn't sure what happened to the rest of the body.

He also said the straight cuts on the flesh and bone indicate the cuts were made by a knife or ax. He said he had seen six cats in the past two months that have been cut up in the same way. Since April, he had seen three other cats brought into Animal Care Services that appeared to have been part of a ritual mutilation with dissections done.

The incisions were made like those you'd see in an autopsy, he added.

"It was definitely a straight cut so it was not something that was done by another animal where there's anything that was ripped or torn," Field Supervisor Richard Gould said.

Residents in the neighborhood were shocked that was a cat killer on the loose.

"I had no idea that is cause for concern," resident Amanda Comstock said.

The mutilations began in 2006 and since then, several cats have disappeared or have been found mutilated.

Officials at Animal Care Services are recommending that people keep their cats indoors because Halloween isn't too far away.

Apparently, during September and October, Animal Care workers said they start to see more of the same type of crimes. Most of the cats that have been mutilated have been black and some have been white.

A detective was assigned to investigate the cat mutilations but no arrests have ever been made.

Here is the link to the original report: Cat

Here is a report from 2008

Mutilated Cat Found On City's South Side

I found a site that is encouraging people to sign a petition to stop Cat Mutilations and Murder in San Antonio.

This is from the site:

In recent months we have had a serious rash of cat (& some dog) mutilations and murders in San Antonio, TX USA. The latest was a black cat that had acid poured on its tail. In one neighborhood people found their pets cut into pieces on their front lawns. Black cats are the most frequent target, but other cats and some dogs have been tortured and murdered also.

Here is the link: Stop

Here is information on a 2007 case

Police solve cat mutilations mystery

After 16 family pets were mutilated in a North Texas community, police feared a budding serial killer was at large.

A team of detectives investigated and they believe they now have answers.

When Shaun Trotter looks at his seven-month-old kitten, he remembers another cat with the same markings, and the same precocious personality.

That cat darted through the door one evening this spring.

"About ten minutes later, we went out and tried looking for her and couldn't find her," said Trotter.

Her picture eventually joined a growing file of cats killed in the small town of DeCordova.

Many, like Trotter's cat, were found dead on the golf course.

"Around March of 2007, we started discovering, getting reports, of half cats that were being discovered at scenes in DeCordova," said Detective Johnny Rose of Hood County Sheriff's office.

The sheriff formed a team of investigators to figure out what was happening.

One of their biggest steps: secretly putting up cameras in the neighborhood around the golf course to figure out who, or what, was coming out at night.

"It's been shown in other studies of serial killers that they start out mutilating animals and gradually start with humans. So we were afraid they were going to graduate to killing humans," said Rose.

But the cameras found, sprinting past the light, predators, not humans.

This month, after hundreds of man hours, a forensics expert and a zoologist confirmed deputies' detectives' suspicions.

"[They] ruled the cats were being killed by predators, such as coyotes," Rose said.

In all, Rose blames 16 cat mutilations on the coyotes in DeCordova.

But while Rose is now confident of the culprits, he's less certain of how to keep them away.

As long as kittens here play outside, there will be coyotes waiting for them.

Here is the link: Solved

The following is from Earthfiles.com

On March 18, 2009, Corpus Cristi police investigated a cat found cut in half near the city’s Club Estates Elementary School on the south side of Corpus Christi. The cat was cut cleanly through its middle with a smooth incision. Its organs had been removed and were not at the scene. 31 cat mutilations have been reported to Corpus Christi police since April 2008. Twelve of those 31 cats have been found in the same general area on the south side of the city. Police have no suspects and have not made any arrests. Anyone with information, please call Corpus Christi CrimeStoppers at: 361-888-8477.

Over the years, recurring cycles of cat mutilations have been reported in England, Canada and many states in America. Texas has had repeated cat mutilations in Corpus Cristi, San Antonio, Austin, and Plano, Texas, an affluent suburb north of Dallas. In 1991, 1993 and the late 1990s, Texas police received dozens of reports about cats found cut in half, usually with the front half near the owners' yards or sidewalks. Plano Police Detective Mike Box also had missing reports on more than 80 domestic house cats that wore collars and I. D. tags, but were never found. Detective Box investigated satanic cult activities, but could not find any evidence that connected them to the mutilated and missing cats and other animals such as dogs.

Here is the link to the original article. Beware there is a photo of the mutilated cat: Story

More to come as I find new information.

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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 2:07 PM   2 comments

Meningitis kills over 1,100 West Africans - WHO

One third of the world’s stockpiled meningitis vaccine doses have been dispatched to West Africa where an outbreak has killed more than 1,100 people since January, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Friday.

Meningitis is an infection of the thin lining that surrounds the brain and spinal cord. Infection rates in Africa tend to rise during the dry and hot period from January to May.

So far this year, the WHO said nearly 25,000 suspect cases have been reported across the “meningitis belt” that stretches from Senegal to Ethiopia, with 85 percent of those concentrated in Niger and Nigeria. WHO says 300 million people in that area are at risk of the disease every year.

The current epidemic is the biggest these countries have faced in the past five years,” said Fadela Chaib, a spokeswoman for the U.N. agency.

In response, more than 4 million meningitis vaccine doses - one third of the world’s emergency stockpile of 13 million doses - have been released to boost immunity levels in those two countries, she told a news briefing in Geneva.

In the past week alone, 171 people have died in Nigeria and about 30 in Niger from meningitis, which spreads mainly through kisses, sneezes, coughs, and in close living quarters, especially when people share cups, forks, and spoons.

“We will need a large amount of vaccines,” Chaib said. “The stockpile of vaccines is a limited one.”


The largest recorded meningitis outbreak in the African high-risk zone, where like polio the disease is endemic, occurred in 1996-1997 when an estimated 100,000 people were infected in Nigeria and 50,000 in Niger.

Symptoms include a stiff neck, fever, sensitivity to light, confusion, headaches and vomiting. About 5 to 10 percent of patients die within 24-48 hours of the onset of symptoms, even with quick diagnosis and therapy. Up to 20 percent of people who survive infection with bacterial meningitis suffer brain damage, hearing loss, or learning disability.

“During the dry season...because of dust winds and upper respiratory tract infections due to cold nights, the local immunity of the pharynx is diminished, increasing the risk of meningitis,” a WHO factsheet said. Population movements to pilgrimages and large markets also contribute to epidemics.

The Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation last year approved millions of dollars in funding to buy more meningitis vaccines for use during epidemics in Africa.

Those purchases should start soon, said a spokesman for the Geneva-based GAVI, which is backed by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and whose financing arm raises money for vaccine programmes through the sale of bonds in capital markets.

Meningitis vaccines are made by major pharmaceutical companies including Novartis and Wyeth.

Here is the link to the original story: Meningitis

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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 10:14 AM   0 comments

Meningitis epidemic strikes

More than 200 people have died of meningitis in the past week alone in Niger and Nigeria, according to the World Health Organization.

Before we look at the current situation let's take the time to ensure we know the basics:

What is Meningitis?

Meningitis is an infection of the fluid of a person's spinal cord and the fluid that surrounds the brain. People sometimes refer to it as spinal meningitis. Meningitis is usually caused by a viral or bacterial infection. Knowing whether meningitis is caused by a virus or bacterium is important because the severity of illness and the treatment differ. Viral meningitis is generally less severe and resolves without specific treatment, while bacterial meningitis can be quite severe and may result in brain damage, hearing loss, or learning disability. For bacterial meningitis, it is also important to know which type of bacteria is causing the meningitis because antibiotics can prevent some types from spreading and infecting other people. Before the 1990s, Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) was the leading cause of bacterial meningitis, but new vaccines being given to all children as part of their routine immunizations have reduced the occurrence of invasive disease due to H. influenzae. Today, Streptococcus pneumoniae and Neisseria meningitidis are the leading causes of bacterial meningitis.
Source: CDC

What are the signs and symptoms of meningitis?

High fever, headache, and stiff neck are common symptoms of meningitis in anyone over the age of 2 years. These symptoms can develop over several hours, or they may take 1 to 2 days. Other symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, discomfort looking into bright lights, confusion, and sleepiness. In newborns and small infants, the classic symptoms of fever, headache, and neck stiffness may be absent or difficult to detect, and the infant may only appear slow or inactive, or be irritable, have vomiting, or be feeding poorly. As the disease progresses, patients of any age may have seizures.
Source: CDC

How is meningitis diagnosed?

Early diagnosis and treatment are very important. If symptoms occur, the patient should see a doctor immediately. The diagnosis is usually made by growing bacteria from a sample of spinal fluid. The spinal fluid is obtained by performing a spinal tap, in which a needle is inserted into an area in the lower back where fluid in the spinal canal is readily accessible. Identification of the type of bacteria responsible is important for selection of correct antibiotics.

Can meningitis be treated?

Bacterial meningitis can be treated with a number of effective antibiotics. It is important, however, that treatment be started early in the course of the disease. Appropriate antibiotic treatment of most common types of bacterial meningitis should reduce the risk of dying from meningitis to below 15%, although the risk is higher among the elderly.

Is meningitis contagious?

Yes, some forms of bacterial meningitis are contagious. The bacteria are spread through the exchange of respiratory and throat secretions (i.e., coughing, kissing). Fortunately, none of the bacteria that cause meningitis are as contagious as things like the common cold or the flu, and they are not spread by casual contact or by simply breathing the air where a person with meningitis has been.

However, sometimes the bacteria that cause meningitis have spread to other people who have had close or prolonged contact with a patient with meningitis caused by Neisseria meningitidis (also called meningococcal meningitis) or Hib. People in the same household or day-care center, or anyone with direct contact with a patient's oral secretions (such as a boyfriend or girlfriend) would be considered at increased risk of acquiring the infection. People who qualify as close contacts of a person with meningitis caused by N. meningitidis should receive antibiotics to prevent them from getting the disease. Antibiotics for contacts of a person with Hib meningitis disease are no longer recommended if all contacts 4 years of age or younger are fully vaccinated against Hib disease

Source: CDC

Let's return to the current situation:

LAGOS, Nigeria (CNN) -- More than 200 people have died of meningitis in the past week alone in Niger and Nigeria, according to the World Health Organization.

The disease is an epidemic in 76 areas of the two countries, the health agency reported Wednesday.

A spokesman for W.H.O. in Nigeria, Dr. Olaokun Soyinka, said Saturday that the outbreak is bigger than usual and stretches across the African meningitis belt from east- to west-sub-Saharan Africa.

The outbreak began around the start of the year, Soyinka told CNN. It usually peaks in the dry season because of dust, winds and cold nights, before dipping around May when the rains come, he said.

A shortage of vaccines means officials are relying on "effective prevention," in which they watch for outbreaks and then vaccinate people in the epicenter and surrounding areas, Soyinka told CNN.

There have been nearly 25,000 suspected cases and more than 1,500 deaths in the meningitis belt in the first 11 weeks of the year, W.H.O. reported. More than 85 percent of those cases happened in northern Nigeria and Niger.

Nigeria's Ministry of Health has reported 17,462 suspected cases of meningococcal disease, including 960 deaths, the world health agency said. In the past week, it reported 4,164 suspected cases with 171 deaths.

Sixty-six local government areas in Nigeria have crossed the epidemic threshold. Epidemic thresholds are a way the W.H.O. confirms the emergence of an epidemic so it can step up vaccinations and other management measures.

Niger's Ministry of Health has reported 4,513 suspected cases of meningococcal disease, including 169 deaths, since the start of the year. In the past week, 1,071 suspected cases and 30 deaths have been reported, the W.H.O. said.

Ten of Niger's 42 districts have crossed the epidemic threshold.

By comparison, other countries are reporting fewer than 50 cases a week.

Meningitis is an infection of the meninges, the thin lining that surrounds the brain and the spinal cord. Several different bacteria can cause meningitis but Neisseria meningitidis -- which is to blame for this outbreak -- is one of the most significant because of its potential to cause epidemics.

Health authorities have released 2.3 million doses of vaccine to Nigeria and 1.9 million doses to Niger, the W.H.O. said.

Here is the link to the original story: Nigeria

Here are additional reports about this story:

Meningitis Outbreak Grips Sub-Saharan Africa

The World Health Organization says Sub-Saharan Africa is in the grips of a meningitis outbreak. It says the two West African countries of Niger and Nigeria are the most heavily affected.

The World Health Organization reports nearly 25,000 suspected cases of meningitis, including more than 1,500 deaths, have been reported during the first 11 weeks of this year. WHO says 85 percent of the cases and deaths have occurred in Northern Nigeria and Niger.

Meningitis death toll reaches 960 in Nigeria; 17,000 people infected

GENEVA — The death toll from a severe outbreak of meningitis in Nigeria has risen to 960.

The World Health Organization says some 17,000 people have been infected with the disease since Jan. 1.

WHO spokeswoman Fadela Chaib says it is the first time there have been so many cases in northern Nigeria, an area she describes as being outside the usual African "meningitis belt."

Chaib says a total of 17,462 cases of meningitis have been reported in the three-month outbreak in Africa's most populous country and that the WHO and other agencies are helping to vaccinate people against the disease.

Meningitis kills more than 1100 West Africans: WHO

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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 9:38 AM   0 comments

Friday, March 27, 2009

Cattle Mutilations

A topic that shows up constantly around the Internet is Cattle Mutilations.

Let's take an in-depth look at the subject:

Cattle mutilation (also known as bovine excision[1]) is the apparent killing and then mutilation of cattle under unusual or anomalous circumstances. Sheep and horses have been allegedly mutilated under similar circumstances.

Since the time that reports of purported animal mutilations began, the causes have been attributed variously to natural decomposition, normal predators, cryptid predators, extraterrestrials, secretive governmental or military agencies, and cults. "Mutilations" have been the subject of two independent federal investigations in the United States.

Source: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Cattle Mutilation Phenomena refers to thousands of cases in North America where cattle have been found mutilated under abnormal circumstances. Sheep, horses or even humans have also been similarly mutilated, according to some accounts. Many mutilated cattle have been found marked with fluorescent paint, probably to help identify them in the dark.

The cows are found dead (although the cause of death is undetermined), exsanguinated (all their blood has been removed). Precise "laser-precision" cuts are observed in the mutilated cattle. They have had certain organs surgically removed from their bodies. Often their reproductive and rectal organs have been removed.

Source: www.crystalinks.com

I did some searching and found this FBI report on the subject:

The material concerning the Animal Mutilation Project contains accounts of animal mutilations which were reported during the late 1970's. The FBI became involved when fifteen mutilations occurred in New Mexico. Various theories concerning the origins of the mutilations were explored by the FBI, including satanic cults, UFOs, pranksters, and natural predators. The investigation failed to identify any individuals responsible for the mutilations.

Here is the link to the 5 part report:


Latest Cattle Mutilation news reports:

Third cattle mutilation found in county Trinidad Times Independent - ‎14 hours ago

A cattle was found mutilated on a ranch in northern Las Animas County last weekend, the third to be found in such a state this month.

The mutilated cow was owned by Jim Garren, and found at about 1:30 p.m. March 21 by his ranch manager on Garren's land located about 12.5 miles southeast of Walsenburg.

"Her udder had been surgically removed," Garren said. "And that's the extent...there wasn't any other trauma on the cow at all."

The two-and-a-half year old Kobe and Angus crossbreed had last been seen at feeding time the previous day. It had also given birth to a calf that night that was discovered hiding in the brush about 50 yards from the carcass.

Garren said that he noticed no tracks around the carcass. "No marks, no disturbance of any kind of the soil," he said. "She was partially underneath a juniper tree, and there was no breakage in the tree, no branches or anything; it just looked like the cow had laid down very peacefully; there was no trauma on the cow, on her head or any parts of her body, we could find zero holes."

Garren added, "There wasn't any blood around anywhere."

Asked if he was aware of the other cattle mutilations that have taken place around the county recently, Garren replied, "Yeah, I just didn't think it would happen to me; guess I got elected."

Garren contacted authorities after discovering the carcass and was put in touch with the local brand inspector.

The first of the new wave of cattle mutilations reported in Las Animas County occurred March 8 to a cow owned by Trinidad School District No. 1 instructor Mike Duran. That cow had been discovered by Duran lying dead on its side by a stream at his winter grazing pastures west of Weston, it's udder and uterus removed. The second mutilation, a week old calf, was discovered March 17 by owner Tom Miller on his ranch east of Hoehne.

Miller reported that the only things left on the calf was some hide, the forelegs and its neck and head. "All the rest of the organs were gone...you could look right into the ribcage and everything," Miller said during a previous interview, adding that the hipbones on the calf were also broken.

Miller and Duran both reported a previous mutilation as having occurred in their herds in the mid-to-late 1990s. Garren said the March 21 mutilation was his first.

"He probably picked my best bred heifer out of the whole herd," Garren said. "That's the way it goes; when you lose one it's your best one."

Through the county's brand inspector Garren was put in touch with Chuck Zukowski, a field investigator from the Mutual UFO Network who also investigated the Duran and Miller mutilations.

"What was interesting about the Garren mutilation is that the stomach tissue was still there," Zukowski said. "You figure if a predator would get it, it would not only go for the udder but also take the stomach tissue."

Zukowski noted that predators seemed to have gotten to the carcass somewhat the following night, but that pictures taken upon discovery of the carcass that afternoon showed it untouched.

"It was just completely incomprehensible how anything or a body, person or whatever would have the ability to do that without leaving some sort of signatures around," Garren said.

Here are more recent reports:

Two more cows found mutilated

Two more Southern Colorado ranchers say they have discovered cows mutilated under strange circumstances.

A cow on a ranch near Walsenburg was found with its udders cut off and a calf on a ranch near Trinidad was found missing the entire center of its body as well as its ears.

A similar mutilation was discovered March 8 on a pasture near the Purgatoire River, just west of the small town of Weston. That cow was found dead by rancher Mike Duran with its udders and reproductive organs surgically removed from its body.

Mutilated Cows Still A Big Mystery

WALSENBURG - In the past month, three different ranchers in Southern Colorado have all reported that their cows were mutilated.

The first was reported at the Purgatoire River near Weston, ten days later, another report came in, this time in Trinidad. And the most recent case came last Sunday, when yet another cow was found dead near Walsenburg.

Three Separate cows, three separate ranchers...all with the same bizarre story. Each of them found one of their cows' dead...and we're not talking death by natural causes...the cows were reportedly mutilated. NEWSCHANNEL 13 received pictured to prove it, some of them are too disturbing to show.

Then we have this report:

Colorado rancher blames aliens for cattle mutilations

There are many theories to who is reponsible for the mutilations:

Here are a few

Closely related to the deviant hypothesis is the hypothesis that cattle mutilations are the result of cult activity.[19] However, contrary to the deviancy hypothesis, which holds that cattle are mutilated at random by individual deviants, the cult hypothesis holds that cattle mutilations are coordinated acts of ritual sacrifice carried out by organized groups.

Beliefs held by proponents of the cult hypothesis vary, but may include:

That the apparent absence of blood at mutilation sites may indicate cult members drink it

That organs have been removed from cattle for use in rituals

That unborn calves have been harvested from mutilated cattle.

The hypothesis that cults were responsible for cattle mutilation was developed in the U.S. during the 1970s, a time of growing national concern over cults issues

It became a social phenomenon in areas where cattle were being mutilated and there were several panics when it was claimed that cattle mutilations were a 'warm up' in preparation for human sacrifices

Source: Wikipedia

The next theory is:

Government/military experimentation

In his 1997 article “Dead Cows I've Known”[26], cattle mutilation researcher Charles T Oliphant speculates cattle mutilation to be the result of covert research into emerging cattle diseases, and the possibility they could be transmitted to humans.

Oliphant posits the NIH, CDC, or other federally funded bodies, may be involved, and they are supported by the US military. Part of his hypothesis is based on allegations that human pharmaceuticals have been found in mutilated cattle, and on the necropsies that show cattle mutilations commonly involve areas of the animal that relate to “input, output and reproduction”. To support his hypothesis, Oliphant cites a previous case in which plain clothes military officers, traveling in unmarked vehicles, entered a research facility in Reston, Virginia to secretly retrieve and destroy animals that were contaminated with a highly infectious disease.

Source: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Then we have:

Aliens and UFOs

Various hypotheses suggest cattle mutilations have been committed by aliens gathering genetic material for unknown purposes. Most of these hypotheses are based on the premise that earthly entities could not perform such clean dissections in such a short space of time without being seen or leaving evidence behind at the mutilation site, and around laboratory reports suggesting the use of unconventional cutting tools and other unexpected phenomena.
Source: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Many people are very skeptical of such theories:

cattle mutiliation - The Skeptic's Dictionary - Skepdic.com

The Straight Dope: What's the story with cattle mutilations?

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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 11:21 AM   0 comments

Thursday, March 26, 2009

New wheat disease could spread faster than originally thought

EOnow.com reported the following:

CORVALLIS - A study by Oregon State University and other institutions has shown that wind-borne human and plant diseases have the potential to spread far more rapidly than previously understood.

The findings, which were published in "The American Naturalist," pose serious concerns for some diseases, including a new fungus that threatens global wheat production.

"It's now becoming clear that some types of diseases can spread more rapidly and widely than we anticipated," said Chris Mundt, a professor of plant pathology at OSU. "This makes it especially important, in some cases, to stop a spreading disease quickly if you hope to stop it at all."

The studies help to explain, for example, how West Nile Virus spread so rapidly across the United States when experts expected a slow, methodical progression. They also aid the analysis of historic diseases, such as the potato blight that led to the Irish potato famine in the mid-1840s.

Researchers used stripe rust, a wheat disease that has spores that can spread on the wind, as a model to help explain how wind-borne pathogens can move. Mundt, an international expert on pathogens of several important food crops, has studied stripe rust for years.

"If we didn't have crops that could resist wheat stem rust, we pretty much wouldn't have a wheat industry," Mundt said. "From this pathogen we've learned a lot about plant disease resistance in general, and also how pathogens can move and spread. And this new study confirms that it is crucial to get prepared for the rapid spread of a new variety of wheat stem rust that appeared in Uganda in 1999."

That new type of wheat stem rust, Mundt said, has the potential to attack 75 percent of the world's known wheat varieties, and in a bad year might cause up to 50 percent crop losses in some parts of the world. Scientists are aware of the problem and are working on developing resistant wheat varieties, Mundt added.

"We don't want to suggest that the sky is falling, but major losses could occur if the right set of conditions converges," Mundt said. "This is something that we shouldn't take a chance on. It's already spread to Iran, and the new research shows that its global spread may be about to pick up speed."

Most plant and animal diseases that are spread by contact or close proximity tend to move in a fairly predictable and constant rate of speed, researchers say. However, a significant number of pathogens can be borne by wind-carried spores or migrating birds. In those cases, even though only small amounts of an invading pathogen may show up at any one remote spot, it has the potential to get a foothold and spread rapidly at this distant location - giving the invading pathogen the ability to literally accelerate as the epidemic spreads.

In just two years from 2004-06, the avian bird flu spread across parts of three continents in Africa, Europe and Asia, carried by migrating birds. From an initial source of infection in New York City in 1999, the West Nile Virus spread across most of North America within three years, and soon thereafter to the entire Western Hemisphere.

The spread of these diseases seems to follow very definable mathematical formulas, researchers found.

Here is the link to the original story:


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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 6:30 PM   0 comments

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Man survived both atomic bombings

Ever had a really bad day? I am not talking about a normal bad day but one that should be recorded in the history books?

Let me tell you about a day that tops all bad days!

Imagine it is August 6, 1945 and you are on a buisness trip in the city of Hiroshima! Everything is going ok until a US plane dropped the first atomic bomb.You suffer serious burns but are released the next day and travel back to your hometown, Nagasaki. You are thankful you survived. Then suddenly on August 9,1945 the US drops another atomic bomb! If that is not amzing enough consider this, you survice the second bombing as well! I know, you are thinking come on that is impossible. Meet Tsutomu Yamaguchi:

The following is from the BBC:

Tsutomu Yamaguchi was in Hiroshima on a business trip on 6 August 1945 when a US plane dropped the first atomic bomb.

He suffered serious burns and spent a night there before returning to his home city of Nagasaki just before it was bombed on 9 August.

He said he hoped his experience held a lesson of peace for future generations.

'Horrifying history'

It was already recorded that Mr Yamaguchi had survived the Nagasaki bomb but on Tuesday officials recognised that he had been in Hiroshima as well.

Certification as a hibakusha or radiation survivor qualifies Japanese citizens for government compensation, including medical check-ups, and funeral costs.

His double dose of atomic bombs, however, does not mean Mr Yamaguchi's compensation will increase, a Nagasaki city official said.

"My double radiation exposure is now an official government record," Mr Yamaguchi told reporters.

"It can tell the younger generation the horrifying history of the atomic bombings even after I die."

About 140,000 people were killed in Hiroshima and 70,000 in Nagasaki.

Many survivors fell sick with radiation-related illnesses, including cancers, for years after the bombings.

Here is the link to the original story: Bomb

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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 11:25 AM   0 comments

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Deadly bacteria on EMS equipment

My last two post have been about MRSA and some breaking news. I have been searching for more updates and I ended up finding this report:

News4 WOAI uncovers a new study that finds MRSA could be carried on about one-third of the stethoscopes used by Emergency Medical Service Workers.
Firefighters and EMT workers in San Antonio got an email today as a reminder to clean their instruments.

Stephen Schott has been an EMT for sixteen years and says every morning he scrubs down his ambulance and after every call, he cleans it again.

“There’s so many different patients and so many different medical conditions and germs that are out there. It really does need to be cleaned often.”

A new Reuters study claims an item used on every patient can easily be the carrier of the dangerous and deadly bacteria, MRSA. Dr. Craig Manifold, the Medical Director of the San Antonio Fire Department, explains the study to News4 WOAI.

“The particular study looked at the stethoscope, not something that we typically think of as an item that can be contaminated, but often goes from patient to patient. So I wanted to make sure that they’re aware and go through and refresh their minds on the cleaning processes.”

Manifold says simply wiping down the stethoscopes with alcohol or soap and water after each patient will stop the spread of the infection.

Here is the link to the original story: MRSA

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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 10:15 PM   0 comments

Breakthrough in superbug fight

My previous post was about breaking news dealing with MRSA. Here is an update to that story:

Experts from a university have developed a new way of fighting deadly hospital superbugs, it was revealed.

MRSA and similar infections that are resistant to antibiotics could be tackled following the breakthrough at Queen's University Belfast.

Special salts can be used to kill or prevent the growth of colonies of dangerous germs.

Martyn Earle, from Queen's, said: "Our goal is to design ionic liquids with the lowest possible toxicity to humans while wiping out colonies of bacteria that cause hospital-acquired infections."

There were 229 cases of MRSA in Northern Ireland in 2007, a slight reduction from the previous year. MRSA often strikes weak or elderly patients and can be a factor in their deaths. It can be passed between patients and visitors, and sufferers have to be isolated and special hygiene measures taken.

The development was carried out by eight researchers from the Queen's University Ionic Liquid Laboratories (Quill) centre.

Many types of bacteria, such as MRSA, exist in colonies that adhere to the surfaces of materials.

The colonies often form coatings, known as biofilms, that protect them from antiseptics, disinfectants, and antibiotics.

Assistant director at Quill Mr Earle added: "We have shown that, when pitted against the ionic liquids (salts) we developed and tested, biofilms offer little or no protection to MRSA, or to seven other infectious micro-organisms."

The Queen's work is being supported by an award from Invest NI.

Here is the link to the original story: MRSA

Someone posted a comment about the original story on MRSA. Here is what they wrote:

The Russians found a way to treat MRSA years ago.

Its just that the FDA that restricts there use in the US.


Bacteriophage's are used to treat many hard to treat bacterial infections in Russia and other countries.

Before penicillin they were commonly used in the US.


The comments were posted at this link: ATS

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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 10:04 PM   0 comments

Scientists find a new weapon in MRSA war


MRSA infection is caused by Staphylococcus aureus bacteria — often called "staph." MRSA stands for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. It's a strain of staph that's resistant to the broad-spectrum antibiotics commonly used to treat it. MRSA can be fatal.

Most MRSA infections occur in hospitals or other health care settings, such as nursing homes and dialysis centers. It's known as health care-associated MRSA, or HA-MRSA. Older adults and people with weakened immune systems are at most risk of HA-MRSA. More recently, another type of MRSA has occurred among otherwise healthy people in the wider community. This form, community-associated MRSA, or CA-MRSA, is responsible for serious skin and soft tissue infections and for a serious form of pneumonia.

Source: Mayo Clinic

Now for some breaking news:

Northern Ireland scientists find a new weapon in MRSA war
Belfast Telegraph - ‎23 minutes ago‎

A new weapon that could help wipe out the deadly MRSA virus has been developed by researchers from Northern Ireland.

Experts from Queen’s University have discovered new agents that can kill colonies of MRSA and other antiboitic resistant hospital-acquired |infections.

The antimicrobial agents also prevent any growth of the potentially lethal bacteria.

The breakthrough was made by a team of eight researchers from the Queen's University Ionic Liquid Laboratories (QUILL) Research Centre led by Brendan Gilmore, a lecturer in Pharmaceutics, and assistant director of QUILL Dr Martyn Earle. The discovery has been published in the |scientific journal, Green Chemistry.

Dr Earle said: “We have shown that, when pitted against the ionic liquids we developed and tested, biofilms offer little or no protection to MRSA, or to seven other infectious microorganisms.

“Our goal is to design ionic liquids with the lowest possible toxicity to humans while wiping out colonies of bacteria that cause hospital acquired infections.”

Many types of bacteria, such as MRSA, exist in colonies that stick to the surfaces of materials. The colonies often form coatings, known as biofilms, which protect them from antiseptics, disinfectant, and |antibiotics.

Ionic liquids, just like the table salt sprinkled on food are salts. They consist entirely of ions — electrically-charged atoms or groups of atoms. Unlike table salt, however, which has to be heated to over 800 degrees celsius to become a liquid, the ionic |liquid antibiofilm agents remain |liquid at the ambient temperatures found in hospitals.

One of the attractions of ionic liquids is the opportunity to tailor their physical, chemical, and biological properties by building specific features into the chemical structures of the positively-charged ions (the cations), and/or the negatively-charged ions (the anions).

Microbial biofilms are not only problematic in hospitals, but can also grow inside water pipes and cause pipe blockages in industrial processes.

Mr Gilmore added: “Ionic liquid based antibiofilm agents could potentially be used for a multitude of medical and industrial applications. For example, they could be used to improve infection control and reduce patient morbidity in hospitals and therefore lighten the financial burden to healthcare providers. They could also be harnessed to improve industrial productivity by reducing biofouling and microbial-induced corrosion of processing systems.”

Here is the link to the original report: MRSA

This is the only report I have found of the story. Will post more information when I find it.

Here is a video that talks about the seriousness of MRSA

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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 9:18 PM   3 comments