Florida warns residents of giant African land snail that may cause meningitis in humans: report

"The giant African land snail … is one of the most invasive pests on the planet, causing agricultural and environmental damage wherever it is found," the report added.  


Shiv Sudhakar

“The giant African land snail … is one of the most invasive pests on the planet, causing agricultural and environmental damage wherever it is found,” the report added.   (U. S. Customs and Border Protection)

Did you know some snails can cause meningitis? 

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) is warning Pasco County to beware of the giant African land snail (GALS) that can carry a rare rat lungworm called Angiostrongylus cantonensis, which may cause meningitis in humans, according to the state’s recent “Pest Alert.” 

After receiving notice of a “possible” population of the snail in New Port Richey, Pasco County on June 21, FDACS said a property survey confirmed the presence of a white form of the giant African land snail two days later. 


“The phenotype in Pasco County has a creamy white flesh as opposed to the grey-ish brown flesh of the phenotype that was eradicated in the Miami area,” said Erin M. Moffet, FDACS’s communications director.  

Moffet told Fox News that Mellon, a mollusk detector dog, is actively surveying for the pest. 

The department said on their website that they will treat properties with a specific snail bait that is a metaldehyde-based molluscicide labeled by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for residential use.   

Metaldehyde is a pesticide used to control snails that’s approved for use in many crops, fruit trees, avocado and citrus orchards, berry plants, banana plants and in limited residential areas, the department said on their website.  

The pesticide interferes with the snail’s mucus production ability, thereby reducing their digestion and mobility, which makes them susceptible to dehydration, per the website.  


After eating the metaldehyde, the GALS often seeks hiding places, then becomes inactive and begins to die within days, the department said.  

“FDACS’s Division of Plant Industry has begun to survey the area, enacted a quarantine and will begin treatment for this detrimental pest on June 29, 2022,” the state department said.  

“It is unlawful to move the giant African land snail or a regulated article, including but not limited to, plants, plants parts, plants in soil, soil, yard waste, debris, compost or building materials, within, through or from a quarantine area without a compliance agreement.” 

The snail is popular in the pet trade in other countries, but it is a federally prohibited organism that cannot be legally sold or possessed in the United States, per the FDACS report.  

The snail is popular in the pet trade in other countries, but it is a federally prohibited organism that cannot be legally sold or possessed in the United States, per the FDACS report.  

The snail is popular in the pet trade in other countries, but it is a federally prohibited organism that cannot be legally sold or possessed in the United States, per the FDACS report.   (U. S. Customs and Border Protection)

The giant African land snail is one of the most damaging snails in the world and consumes at least 500 different types of plants. These snails could be devastating to Florida agriculture and natural areas as they cause extensive damage to tropical and subtropical environments,” FDACS said on their website.  

The state first eradicated the pest in 1975 after detecting it in 1969 and most recently eradicated the pest in 2021 after detecting it in 2011 in Miami-Dade County, per the FDACS website.  

The snail can cause a disease called Angiostrongliasis, or rat lungworm disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  


“An infected rat coughs up worms from the lungs into the throat where they are then swallowed by the rat. The worms are now in the rat’s digestive system and eventually end up in the rat’s poop,” the CDC said. 

A snail gets infected two ways: by either accidently eating the rat’s poop or the worm penetrating the snail’s body.  

“When a rat eats an infected slug or snail, the cycle begins again,” the CDC added. 

Most cases of rat lungworm disease occur in parts of Asia and the Pacific Islands, but some have been in Caribbean, Africa and United States, like in Hawaii and Louisiana. 

So why should humans worry about it? 

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried and FDACS will be holding a press conference on the recent GALS detection from FDACS’ Clearwater office, which will be livestreamed on the Department’s Facebook page. 

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried and FDACS will be holding a press conference on the recent GALS detection from FDACS’ Clearwater office, which will be livestreamed on the Department’s Facebook page.  ( Drew Angerer/Getty Images)


People get the disease when they eat raw or undercooked snails that are infected with the worms as well as eating fruits or vegetables that have not been washed well that also contain the snails.  


“People present with symptoms of bacterial meningitis, such as nausea, vomiting, neck stiffness, and headaches that are often global and severe,” the CDC said. 

“Most infections of [Angiostrongylus cantonensis] resolve spontaneously over time without specific treatment because the parasite cannot survive for long in the human body. However, serious complications can rarely occur, leading to neurologic dysfunction or death.” 

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried and FDACS will be holding a press conference on the recent GALS detection from FDACS’ Clearwater office, which will be livestreamed on the department’s Facebook page. 


Listeria outbreak may be linked to Florida, CDC says

An electron micrograph of a Listeria bacterium in tissue is seen in a 2002 image from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

An electron micrograph of a Listeria bacterium in tissue is seen in a 2002 image from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (Reuters/Elizabeth White/CDC/Handout via Reuters)

Paul Best

A listeria outbreak that has sickened at least 23 people across 10 states may be linked to Florida, the CDC said this week. 

Of the 22 people who health officials have been able to track down, 20 of them reported living in Florida or traveling to the state in the month before they got sick, but the CDC noted that “the significance of this is still under investigation.”

Listeria, a foodborne illness, is usually caused by contaminated dairy, produce, deli meats, or smoked fish. 


Symptoms, which include fever, fatigue, and muscle aches, typically start within one to four weeks of eating food contaminated with listeria. 

In the current outbreak, 22 people have been hospitalized and one person has died. Five of those who got infected were pregnant at the time, with one person reporting the loss of the fetus. 

Vials of raw sheep's milk are seen with bottles of substances used to check the milk for strains of Listeria and Salmonella before the milk is developed into roquefort cheese.

Vials of raw sheep’s milk are seen with bottles of substances used to check the milk for strains of Listeria and Salmonella before the milk is developed into roquefort cheese. (Pascal Pavani/AFP via Getty Images)

The true number of illnesses is likely much higher, according to the CDC, as some people recover before seeking medical attention. 

Health officials are still trying to identify the food that is the source of this outbreak. 

A listeria outbreak stemming from deli meats sickened at least 10 people and killed one in 2020. Another outbreak caused by precooked chicken put three people in the hospital and killed one last year. 

Paul Best is a reporter for Fox News Digital. Story tips can be sent to Paul.best@fox.com and on Twitter: @KincaidBest. 


UK bird flu research project launched to protect poultry and seabirds

A notice from the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs

A notice warning of an avian influenza outbreak, taken on 25 January in Windsor, UK


Mark Kerrison/In Pictures via Getty Images

Adam Vaughan

A UK government-backed project – FluMap – aims to help understand how bird flu is evolving and finding its way into poultry farms Environment 20 June 2022

Scientists have embarked on a one-year, £1.5 million research project to combat the highly pathogenic strain of bird flu wreaking havoc on UK seabirds and heaping pressure on poultry farming.

With reports last week of growing numbers of seabirds – from gannets and guillemots to razorbills and skuas – being found dead on UK beaches, the risk is growing of the disease spreading to and from poultry. A record 122 poultry cases have already been recorded in the UK last winter, up on 26 the winter before. Meanwhile, more than 1100 cases have been detected in wild birds, compared with about 300 the previous winter.

Ian Brown at the UK Animal and Plant Health Agency hopes the government-backed project, dubbed FluMap, will help researchers fill knowledge gaps about how the H5N1 influenza is evolving and precisely how it is finding its way into poultry farms.


6 best sunscreens for your family to lather on this year


(Emily Harris/Bloomberg / Getty Images)

Chris Oberholtz

It’s time to bring out the sunscreen. Warmer temperatures mean we are spending more time outside, having fun in the sun with our family and friends.

Consumer Reports tested sunscreens for the SPF, or “sun protection factor,” and the UVA protection. For an effective product, you need a broad-spectrum sunscreen to really protect your skin, which is a relatively new feature of sunscreens as most traditionally only blocked UVB rays. 


Sunscreens protect against a broader swath of the UV spectrum, including UVA rays. The Food and Drug Administration requires that a sunscreen labeled as broad-spectrum protects against both UVB and UVA rays. It’s the UVA rays that penetrate deeply into the skin causing damage that can lead to skin cancer and skin aging.

“That’s really what makes a sunscreen better than another,” Consumer Reports health and food deputy editor Trisha Calvo said. “Does it have the SPF protection that you need? Does it have the UVA protection that is more than a pass-fail? The degree of UVA protection is very important, and that’s what we rate the sunscreens on.”

Here are some of Consumer Reports’ top-performing sunscreens in their tests.

7 things to know about sunscreen

Sunscreen can protect your skin from irreversible damage from the sun. Learn more about how sunscreen can protect you and your family.

Best lotion sunscreens

  • Equate (Walmart) Ultra Lotion SPF 50Price: $5
  • Kiehl’s Activated Sun Protector Lotion SPF 30Price: $32
  • La Roche-Posay Anthelios Melt-In Milk Lotion SPF 60Price: $35.99 – $36.99

Best spray sunscreens

  • Alba Botanica Hawaiian Coconut Clear Spray SPF 50Price: $9.48 – $15.99
  • Sun Bum Spray SPF 50Price: $15.99 – $23.20
  • Trader Joe’s Spray SPF 50+Price: $14.10

Shelves of sunscreen for sale at Publix grocery store in Florida.

(Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group / Getty Images)

How sunscreens were tested 

Volunteers came into their lab and had sunscreen applied to small areas of their backs. They were asked to soak in water for the amount of time that the sunscreen is supposed to be water-resistant. Small amounts of UV light were then applied to the sections of their backs where the sunscreen was applied, and then they soak in water again.


“They are sent home afterwards, and then the next day, a trained technician examines the skin for redness,” Calvo said. “And that’s how we test for SPF. For the UVA protection, it’s a lab test and a calculation.”

Getting adequate coverage 

Any sunscreen is supposed to be reapplied every two hours you’re out in the sun or immediately after you’ve been in water or sweating heavily.

“It doesn’t matter what the SPF is,” Calvo said. “More frequent reapplication prevents the accumulation of the UV rays, and that happens over a lifetime.”


For years, sunscreen manufacturers slapped the words “waterproof” and “sweatproof” on their labels. But in 2011, the FDA put an end to such advertising, claiming that they were exaggerated.

Darly Ortega of New York, left, applies sunscreen on the face of her son Sabatian Ortega, 8, upon arriving to the beach in Hollywood, Florida, Thursday, Aug. 23, 2007. 

Some sunscreen products today are dubbed “water-resistant,” meaning that they remain effective in the water for 40 minutes. Sunscreens that are called “very water-resistant” provide protection for twice that long in the water.

As for the differences in SPF numbers, there is a big difference between an SPF 15 and an SPF 30, according to Calvo.


“But once you get above 30, the differences are smaller. And it’s the amount of UV light that is screened out by the product,” she said.

For example, an SPF 30 screens out about 95% and an SPF 50 about 97%. Even SPF 100 only screens out 99% of UV light. Nothing screens out 100% of the UV rays, according to Calvo.


Petition · Declare Illegal Fentanyl a Weapon of Mass Destruction · Change.org


The U.S. Government is considering designation of illegal fentanyl as a Weapon of Mass Destruction (WMD). This would enable the Department of Justice, Department of Homeland Security, Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), Department of Defense and other relevant federal agencies to better coordinate their efforts and immediately publish the necessary administrative directives to eliminate the threat posed by these deadly substances.

Federal Statute (18 U.S. Code§ 2332a) states that “any weapon that is designed or intended to cause death or serious bodily injury through the release, dissemination, or impact of toxin or poisonous chemicals, or their precursors” would be defined as a WMD. Illegal fentanyl and its analogues, especially carfentanil, are such toxins, capable of causing mass deaths or biological impairment.

Illegally imported fentanyl seizures in 2018 totaled almost 5,000 lbs., which is more than 1.2 billion lethal doses and enough to kill four times the population of the U.S. In the first six months of 2019, seizures went up. In August 2019, law enforcement officers took down a major trafficking conspiracy in Virginia and seized 66 pounds of illegal fentanyl; the DEA confirmed the amount intercepted was enough to kill 14 million people. That same month, the Mexican Navy, in cooperation with the U.S., made a seizure of 52,000 lbs. of illegal fentanyl; enough to kill 11.5 billion people. In 2019, eleven pounds of the potent analogue carfentanil was seized in Queens, NYC; enough to kill 250 million people. The USDEA estimates that less than 10% of all illicit drugs are being captured. An EPA report in 2018 indicates that the threat of these quantities to the environment could be devastating.

The following list compares lethal doses of fentanyl and its more powerful analogue, carfentanil, with the highest-class nerve agent Sarin, which is currently designated as a WMD:

AGENT                158 lb. Person Deadly Dose
Carfentanil          .02 mg 
Sarin                   .50 mg 
Fentanyl              2 mg 

We urge all relevant federal agencies to aggressively confront this threat by naming illegal fentanyl and its analogues Weapons of Mass Destruction.

James Rauh
Families Against Fentanyl


Sign the Petition 👇


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Action Alert! New Bill Threatens Jail Time for Supplement Companies – Alliance for Natural Health USA – Protecting Natural Health



Senator Dick Durbin’s (D-IL) bill that threatens tens of thousands of products has officially been introduced. We need all hands on deck to oppose it. Action Alert!

Sen. Dick Durbin has launched his supplement attack by introducing his “Dietary Supplement Listing Act of 2022” with Senator Mike Braun (R-IN). This bill threatens your ability to access the supplements you rely on to stay healthy. We need to send a strong message to Congress that this is bad for consumers, bad for health, and bad for the economy.

The bill threatens fines and jailtime for companies that do not comply. If a company does not submit the proper information, in the correct form, by the proper date, the supplement is considered misbranded. For the first offense, violators can be imprisoned for one year and fined $1,000 dollars; for the second offense, violators can be imprisoned for three years and fined $10,000. Given the safety record of supplements that will be detailed below, the punishments here hardly seem to fit the crime.

This bill creates a lose-lose situation for consumers and supplement companies: if companies don’t comply, they face fines and jail time; if they do comply, companies are orchestrating their own demise by giving the FDA the list it needs to sweep the market of as many as 41,000 supplements that do not comply with the agency’s overreaching (and incomplete) “new supplement” guidance. Supplement companies lose, the economy suffers, and consumers lose access to critical health products.

It’s bad, but it may not even be the biggest threat to your supplements right now. Separately, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, is independently moving forward with plans to attach a similar mandatory product registration provision for supplements to the reauthorization of the Prescription Drug User Fee Act that must pass by the end of September. Durbin’s policy, then, has twice the chance of success because it is moving forward on two distinct paths.

Why are more supplement regulations such a priority for these federal authorities? Supplements are overwhelmingly safe. According to the FDA, in 2021, the agency received 2,400 adverse event reports related to dietary supplements. To put this in context, according to the FDA’s adverse event database, in 2021 the FDA received a total of 2,333,453 adverse event reports. That means that dietary supplements make up 0.1% of the adverse event reports to the FDA. National reports consistently show zero deaths from dietary supplements; according to the FDA’s database, in 2021 alone drugs killed 187,750 Americans.

That supplements are the products getting federal attention speaks to the power of the drug industry lobby and the willingness of elected officials and FDA officials to do their bidding. We cannot let these forces succeed in undermining our ability to stay healthy, naturally.

Action Alert! Write to Congress and tell them to oppose mandatory product listing for supplements. Please send your message immediately


Connecticut reports its first case of tick-borne Powassan virus in 2022: What to know


Shiv Sudhakar

The Connecticut Department of Public Health announced the state’s first reported Powassan virus infection of the year this past Wednesday. Powassan virus is a rare disease spread by the same tick that causes Lyme disease, according to a recent press release

“The identification of a Connecticut resident with Powassan virus associated illness emphasizes the need to take actions to prevent tick bites from now through the late fall,” said Dr. Manisha Juthani, who is the commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Health.

“Using insect repellent, avoiding areas where ticks are likely, and checking carefully for ticks after being outside can reduce the chance of you or your children being infected with this virus.”

Powassan virus, first discovered in Powassan, Ontario in 1958, is usually spread through the bite of an infected black-legged or deer tick, officially known as Ixodes scapularis, and can be transmitted in as little as 15 minutes after a tick bite, but it can take a week up to one month to develop symptoms, per the release. 

This is in contrast to Lyme disease, the most common tick-borne disease in the United States, which is caused by a bacteria known as Borrelia burgdorferi and usually transmitted after 36-48 hours after the bite of usually the black-legged tick, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Human infections secondary to the Powassan virus infections have been recognized in the United States, Canada, and Russia, with the cases mostly from northeastern states and the Great Lakes region in late spring, early summer and mid-fall when ticks are most active, per the CDC.

Between 2011-20, in addition to Connecticut, the following states have reported cases to the CDC: Indiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Wisconsin.

Powassan cases are rare, with 20 reported in 2020 to the CDC, but the reported cases are increasing, whereas usually 30,00 cases of Lyme disease are reported to the CDC each year, but the true number is likely closer to 476,000 each year because of underreporting, per the agency.

People who work outdoors and engage in recreational activities in endemic areas for the virus are at increased risk of the infection.

The Connecticut patient who contracted Powassan virus is a male patient in his 50s who started to feel sick during the fourth week of March after a tick bite. He was later hospitalized with a central nervous system disease with laboratory confirmed evidence by the CDC of antibodies to the virus, but is now discharged and recovering at home, according to the health department’s release. 

Most people infected with Powassan virus will develop mild flu-like symptoms or no symptoms at all, but some will experience severe illness affecting the central nervous system, which consists of the spinal cord and brain, per the health department.

Wood Tick on finger

Wood Tick on finger

Early symptoms of severe disease include headache, vomiting, fever and weakness that rapidly progresses to confusion, loss of coordination, difficulty speaking, or seizures. Treatment is supportive care, which means there is no specific medication directed against the disease, but instead targeted to symptoms. 

Approximately one out of 10 cases of severe illness are fatal, with an estimated half of survivors experiencing long-term complications. 

There were 12 cases of Powassan virus from 2017 to 2021 reported in Connecticut, including three in 2021 and two out the 12 that were fatal, the release said.

Connecticut is a state well-known for tick-bites, with the CDC categorizing it a high-incidence region for Lyme disease, as of 2019

Lyme disease was first described in Lyme, Connecticut in 1975 by a researcher, Dr. William Burgdorfer, who connected puzzling symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis-like symptoms with the bite of deer ticks, according to the National Institute of Health (NIH)

He discovered that a spiral shaped bacterium, known as a spirochete, carried by the ticks caused the condition now known as Lyme disease.  The spirochete was named Borrelia burgdorferi in 1982 in his honor, per the NIH.

An early symptom of Lyme disease is a hallmark rash that looks like a “bulls-eye,” known as erythema migrans, but later can progress to joint pain and neurological issues, according to Mayo Clinic.

Blacklegged ticks not only can carry Lyme disease and Powassan virus, but also other tick-borne diseases like anaplasmosis and babesiosis, so it’s possible to get infected with more than one infection at the same time, called a co-infection, per the CDC.

Some tips to prevent tick bites include: avoiding grassy, brushy, or wooded areas, using CDC-recommended mosquito repellents, checking for ticks immediately after an outdoor activity and showering within two hours of coming indoors, per the release


Pig virus may have been factor in death of man who received pig heart transplant, researchers say


Bradford Betz

A pig virus may have contributed to the death of a man who was the first person to have received a heart transplant from a pig, though the evidence is inconclusive, researchers say. 

David Bennett Sr., 57, of Maryland, died in March, just two months after the groundbreaking experimental transplant. University of Maryland doctors said Thursday they found viral DNA inside the pig heart. They did not find signs that this bug, called “porcine cytomegalovirus,” was causing an active infection.

In this photo provided by the University of Maryland School of Medicine, members of the surgical team show the pig heart for transplant into patient David Bennett in Baltimore on Friday, Jan. 7, 2022. 

In this photo provided by the University of Maryland School of Medicine, members of the surgical team show the pig heart for transplant into patient David Bennett in Baltimore on Friday, Jan. 7, 2022.  (Mark Teske/University of Maryland School of Medicine via AP, File)

The animal virus was first reported by MIT Technology Review, citing a scientific presentation from Dr. Bartley Griffith, the surgeon who performed Bennett’s transplant.

A major worry about animal-to-human transplants is the risk that it could introduce new kinds of infections to people. Griffith told The Associated Press that some viruses can be a “hitchhiker” because they lurk without causing diseases. Now, researchers are pursuing more tests to ensure they don’t miss these kinds of viruses. 


Doctors have for decades tried using animal organs to save human lives without success. Bennett, who was dying and ineligible for a human heart transplant, underwent the last-ditch operation using a heart from a pig genetically modified to lower the risk that his immune system would rapidly reject such a foreign organ.

The Maryland team said the donor pig was healthy, had passed testing required by the Food and Drug Administration to check for infections, and was raised in a facility designed to prevent animals from spreading infections. 

FILE: David Bennett Jr., right, stands next to his father's hospital bed in Baltimore, Md., on Jan. 12, 2022, five days after doctors transplanted a pig heart into Bennett Sr., in a last-ditch effort to save his life. 

FILE: David Bennett Jr., right, stands next to his father’s hospital bed in Baltimore, Md., on Jan. 12, 2022, five days after doctors transplanted a pig heart into Bennett Sr., in a last-ditch effort to save his life.  (University of Maryland School of Medicine via AP)

Griffith said his patient, while very ill, had been recovering fairly well from the transplant when one morning he woke up worse, with symptoms similar to an infection. Doctors ran tests to try to understand the cause, and gave Bennett a variety of antibiotics, antiviral medication and an immune-boosting treatment. But the pig heart became swollen, filled with fluid and eventually quit functioning.

“What was the virus doing, if anything, that might have caused the swelling in his heart?” Griffith asked. “Honestly we don’t know.”

Meanwhile, doctors at other medical centers around the country have been experimenting with animal organs in donated human bodies and are anxious to attempt formal studies in living patients soon. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report


Vitamins for Your Health and Wellness

Taking Vitamin D and Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplements Could Lower Your Risk of Developing an Autoimmune Disease

woman pouring vitamin supplements into hand

Credit: Jay Yuno / Getty Images

By Nashia Baker March 30, 2022

Researchers studied over 25,000 adults for five years to reach these findings.

Vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acid supplements are known to contribute to bone strength and heart health—but that’s not all. Research presented at the American College of Rheumatology’s ACR Convergence 2021 found that people who ingested these nutrients over the course of five years actually lowered their chances of developing autoimmune disease by 25 to 30 percent, Eating Well reports.

To conduct this study, researchers followed 25,871 adults who were put on four different regimens for nearly five-and-a-half years: The first group took both an omega-3 and vitamin D placebo, and the second took 1,000 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids and 2,000 international units of vitamin D. A third group of participants took an omega-3 placebo and 2,000 international units of vitamin D, while the fourth group took 1,000 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids and a vitamin D placebo. If a participant experienced any autoimmune complication, it was noted by the researchers.

The result? Those with autoimmune diseases, such as psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis, lowered their risk of relapse by up to 30 percent if they took either or both supplements. “The effect of vitamin D3 appeared stronger after two years of supplementation,” Costenbader said in the study’s abstract, adding that risks can decrease in less than five years. “The more pronounced effect after two to three years of use with vitamin D makes sense biologically and supports long-term use.”

Related: Science Says the Fatty Acids in Omega-3 Supplements Can Stabilize Alzheimer’s Patients’ Memories

This study was inspired by a previous study in which researchers found that those who get enough vitamin D from the sun and their diets are better able to ward off arthritis and inflammation. “In past ecologic observations, inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis, and type 2 diabetes have been shown to be more prevalent at northern latitudes, where circulating vitamin D levels are lower,” Karen Costenbader, M.D., M.P.H., the senior author of the research and the director of the Lupus Program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, said at the conference. “Both high plasma vitamin D and high residential UV exposure were associated with a decreased risk for rheumatoid arthritis among women in the Nurses’ Health Study in our past work.” Their previous studies also showed that risk of developing arthritis appeared lower in those with high fatty fish intake.

The One Type of Vitamin D That Will Strengthen Your Immune System

open hand holding vitamin d supplements

Credit: FreshSplash / Getty Images

By Madeline Buiano

Vitamin D helps make your bones stronger, boosts your heart health, and more. Now, a new study has found that getting specific with your supplement offers yet another health benefit.

Vitamin D is one of the most popular supplements in the United States, and for good reason too: it’s known for its ability to contribute to bone strength and heart health, as well as lower your risk for developing an autoimmune disease. But there’s a chance you’re taking the supplement every day and not reaping all of its benefits. According to a study recently published in Frontiers in Immunology, D3 is more effective at elevating vitamin D levels in the bloodstream than D2. What’s more, only D3 helps enable a critical immune system response to bacterial and viral infections.

WTo determine the key differences between both types of the supplement, the University of Surrey recruited 335 women between the ages of 20 and 64 who were based in the United Kingdom and randomly assigned them to a group. Some of the participants took 15 micrograms of vitamin D2 a day, while others took the same amount of D3. There was also a placebo group that took neither D2 or D3. The researchers examined the effects of vitamin D over a 12-week period during the winter months.

The result? Vitamin D3 was more effective at increasing vitamin D levels in the bloodstream than D2. They also found that the group who took D3 had a stronger immune system response to bacterial and viral infections, while D2 has the opposite effect. Additionally, it’s believed by researchers that D2 may deplete D3, as the D2 supplement group had less D3 in their blood than the placebo group did. “We know that to take a vitamin D2 supplement actually displaces the normal, the native D3 from your body,” Colin P. Smith, an author of the study and a professor of genomics at the University of Surrey in the U.K., told Inverse. “So by taking a vitamin D2 supplement, you could be making yourself vitamin D deficient, certainly in relation to some pathways in the body.”

This isn’t the first study that has examined the differences between D2 and D3. A study published last year in the National Library of Medicine, found that high D3 levels were associated with less severe depression symptoms in women, while D2 showed no such correlation.

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EPA aware of Colonia High School brain tumor cluster NJ man uncovered: ‘I have a really bad feeling’


Audrey Conklin

Local and federal environmental agencies say they are assisting the town of Woodbridge, New Jersey, in its investigation into more than 100 graduates of the same high school that have been diagnosed with rare brain tumors.

Al Lupiano, a graduate of Colonia High School, tells Fox News Digital that since posting his theory about an apparent link between brain tumor diagnoses in 1990s and early 2000s graduates of Colonia High School — including himself, his wife and his sister, who recently died of cancer — on Facebook in March, he has gathered the names of at least 110 graduates with rare brain tumors.

“It’s overwhelming. … I’m doing this not only for my wife, my sister — my nieces are currently in the school — but this deserves further understanding. Further explanation of what occurred at that high school over these decades of people being in the building,” Lupiano said. “I don’t think this is the end of the story. I have a really bad feeling we’re going to find contamination beyond the high school. There’s lots and lots of people calling me, saying, ‘Look, I didn’t go to the high school, but I live a mile away, and we call our block cancer alley.'”

Al Lupiano was diagnosed with a "very rare" and abnormally large brain tumor in 1999 when he was 27 called Acoustic Neuroma. 

Al Lupiano was diagnosed with a “very rare” and abnormally large brain tumor in 1999 when he was 27 called Acoustic Neuroma.  (Al Lupiano)

In 1999, when he was just 27, Lupiano was diagnosed with a rare, benign brain tumor for someone his age called Acoustic Neuroma (AN). Last summer, Lupiano’s wife and now-deceased sister were diagnosed with rare malignant brain tumors on the same day. His wife was similarly diagnosed with a malignant AN tumor, and his sister was diagnosed with malignant Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM), which has an incident rate of 30 out of every 1 million people.


The 110 people that Lupiano has counted on his list of former Colonia High School graduates have been diagnosed with cancerous or noncancerous primary brain tumors, meaning they originated in the brain. Secondary brain tumors, which originate elsewhere in the body and then spread to the brain, are more common.

Lupiano, an environmental scientist who tested ground samples for toxins over the course of his 33-year career, has suggested that the school’s grounds could be contaminated, pointing to Middlesex, New Jersey, sampling plant as a potential linking factor behind the 100-plus tumors. The plant, which has since closed, is about a 30-minute drive from Colonia High School. 

Colonia High School entrance. 

Colonia High School entrance.  (Google Maps)

It was an entry point for uranium ores that were “imported for use in the nation’s early atomic energy program, were assayed at the Middlesex Sampling Plant and then shipped to other sites for processing,” according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) New York Division.


The plant received uranium, thorium and beryllium ores between the 1940s and 1967, which is the same year Colonia High School was built.

The plant then “decontaminated to the standards in effect at the time,” though “overlooked during decontamination were traces of radioactive materials that had been carried offsite over the years by wind and rain to yards of neighboring homes,” the USACE New York Division said on its website. 

Middlesex Sampling Plant to Colonia High School in New Jersey.

Middlesex Sampling Plant to Colonia High School in New Jersey. (Google Maps)

“Also, records later revealed that in 1948, some radioactively contaminated materials had been trucked from the plant to the Middlesex Municipal Landfill (MML), one-half mile away. In the 1980[s], the contaminated residential properties were cleaned up, and the excavated soil was stored at the site in a specially constructed pile, known as the Vicinity Properties (VP) pile,” the USACE New York Division’s website states.

It is possible that soil from the plant had been trucked to Colonia High School during its construction in 1967, according to the NJ Spotlight.


People who have been exposed to ionizing radiation have an increased risk of developing primary brain tumors, whether they are malignant or benign, according to the Mayo Clinic.

“[W]e have really solid data on primary brain tumors because of what we learned after World War Two, what we learned after Chernobyl,” Lupiano explained. “The medical journals are rich with data supporting ionizing radiation causes brain tumors. So that’s why I focused on cancerous or malignant and benign — because they’re triggered by the same thing, and we have really solid statistics to say all.”

Lupiano eventually arrived at a single linking factor between himself, his wife and his sister: they each attended Colonia High School in Woodbridge in the 1990s. 

Lupiano eventually arrived at a single linking factor between himself, his wife and his sister: they each attended Colonia High School in Woodbridge in the 1990s.  (Al Lupiano)

Lupaino says he has witnessed, in his career, “what happens when our government and our military [are] involved with leaving a location and not being very good environmental stewards.”

“They tend to leave stuff behind, and that stuff tends to migrate from one location to another. So it’s not unheard of. That contaminated fill would have been spread all over this town from a point source that I’ve yet to identify that was illegally dumped back in the 40s, 50s and 60s,” he said. “So if that’s the case, that could explain why we have pockets of these rare cancers all over Woodbridge Township.”

The New Jersey Departments of Health (DOH) and Environmental Protection (DEP) say they are involved in an investigation into the apparent cancer cluster, though Lupiano says he has not received requests for information from either agency.

New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection building.

New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection building. (Google Maps)

“Our agencies are aware of the concerns raised by local residents, particularly as they relate to Colonia High School, and are partnering with Mayor McCormac and Woodbridge Township to better understand the issue and determine whether any relevant environmental exposure concerns are present at the site,” the DOH and DEP said in a joint statement. “The Departments stand ready to assist Woodbridge in reviewing any environmental data it collects to determine appropriate next steps.”

The agencies continued: “The Department of Health will work with the federal Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry (ATSDR) to provide an assessment of the potential health effects. If there are any potential environmental exposure pathways identified and a need for further environmental sampling, the state Health Department will work cooperatively with ATSDR to conduct a public health assessment and evaluate the potential for health effects.”

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) also said in a statement that it has “received information about the community’s concerns related to Colonia High School and “will communicate with both the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and the New Jersey Department of Health as they investigate the matter.”

Lupiano, however, says Woodbridge Mayor McCormac is the only government official who has reached out to him for information. 

“Seven weeks … we’ve been waiting for them to take a drive from Edison [New Jersey] to Colonia, New Jersey. I don’t get that,” he said. “[A]t least pick up the phone and say, ‘Hey Al, what do you see?’ And I would be happy — here’s my list. Please, look at this. This is 18 hours a day. I’m exhausted. I want someone else to go to.”


“Potassium Supplements…The Shocking Truth Most Don’t Understand | Dr. Mandell”

Spring’s hidden dangers that could be deadly to your pets


Chris Oberholtz

Spring’s hidden pet dangers

March is National Pet Poison Prevention Month and also offers a good way to help educate pet owners on the dangers of accidental pet poisonings and how to prevent them. 

Spring is in the air, and so are some hidden dangers lurking in your yard that could be deadly to your four-legged family members.

You know when warmer weather is approaching by the constant puppy-eye look begging for more time outside. And with thrills of chasing squirrels and warding off the mail carrier comes more danger from the ground they guard.

March is National Pet Poison Prevention Month and also offers an excellent way to help educate pet owners on the dangers of accidental pet poisonings and how to prevent them.

Every year the Animal Poison Control Center with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals compiles its data from the calls received about pets exposed to toxins and releases the top 10 categories of potential poisons.

One-tenth of those calls were related to indoor and outdoor plant ingestion. Rodenticides, insecticides and garden products were also most frequent.

Avoid toxic plants

Many common plants can be harmful to pets like azaleas, rhododendrons, yews, English Ivy, daffodils and tulips. 

“Bulbs of tulips, daffodils, hyacinths can cause all sorts of issues from gastric upset to heart problems for our dogs,” said Lindsey Wolko, founder of the Center for Pet Safety.

If your dog likes to dig, you should keep bulbs out of the landscape. 

Easter lilies are exceptionally toxic to cats. Their leaves, flowers, pollen and stems can cause kidney failure.

(Linda Davidson/The Washington Post  / Getty Images)

Lilies will also start growing soon, and they are exceptionally toxic to cats. 

“Their leaves, flowers, pollen and stems can cause kidney failure,” Wolko said. “Easter lilies will also be available at your local stores for those that celebrate the holiday. If you have cats, you won’t want to bring lilies home.”

Mulches and landscape invaders

“Some wild mushrooms are toxic, and yet somehow our dogs are attracted to dangerous fungi,” Wolko said.

If you see mushrooms growing in your yard, remove them promptly. Plants with thorns can also harm paw pads and result in eye issues.

Horticulture agent Dennis Patton of the Johnson County K-State Research and Extension recommends using natural wood mulches and avoiding cocoa mulches. Dyes can also cause issues depending on the pet.

Fertilizers, pesticides and compost

Springtime fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides used to boost blooming for flowers or lawn applications can be harmful to pets. 

The chemicals can irritate your pet’s paws or nasal passages, or if ingested, they can be toxic. 

“In some cases, when you’re not certain, it’s best to rinse and dry their paws at the end of the walk. The company that manufactures or applies these chemicals to your lawn should have material safety data sheets and guidance for those that have pets,” Wolko said.

You might consider avoiding using such chemicals if possible or using alternative controls.

You know when warmer weather is approaching by the constant puppy-eye look begging for more time outside.

(Paul Zinken / Getty Images)

“Make sure you secure the lid to any compost bins around your yard to keep pets out and potentially consuming materials in the bin,” Patton said.

Spring is also the time of year when neighbors may put out poisons for rodents.

“If your pet consumes a poisoned rodent, they too ingest the toxic substance. Be vigilant and inspect your surrounding yard and walking path frequently,” Wolko said.

Contact your veterinarian or emergency vet if you suspect that your pet has ingested a poison or toxic plant. 

Ticks, misquotes and fleas

As spring arrives, keep the grass mown and remove any weedy growth and leaf litter around the yard. These conditions can increase tick and flea populations. You should also avoid any standing water which breeds misquotes. 

Petscaping design

Besides the obvious in providing plenty of fresh water and shade, you need to establish boundaries with pets and adequately train them to respect the landscape.

Patton suggests shielding or protecting any prized or toxic plants from pets and providing a safe space for play and exercise.

“Create pathways in the garden for pets, and you are a must,” Patton said.

Another area worth creating is an outdoor potty area using pea gravel which acts as kitty litter for your dog. It drains well and won’t wash away in the rain or blow away in heavy winds. 


Protest Against Doernbecher Children’s Hospital’s Promotion of Immorality —


Doernbecher Children’s Hospital, an affiliate of Oregon Health and Science University, has pages dedicated to “transgender” medicine on its website for children as young as ten years old! The clinic provides resources on its site to encourage girls to “bind” their chest and boys to “tuck” their genitals, and directs children to websites that assist them in doing so, including a “sex toy” shop. According to reports:

“The Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland provides an instructional guide to boys on how to tuck their genitals….

“In the guidance, the children’s hospital also directs minors to a ‘sex-positive shop in Portland [i.e. the sex ‘toy store’, called She Bop] …’

“The sex toy store offers ‘virtual offerings’ that provide: ‘Fun and interactive sex toy chat + Q&A facilitated by one of our sex toy experts.’ The sex toy store also offers online classes about sexual activities, including [sado-masicistic practices].

“The children’s hospital admits, ‘The shop is for people age 18 and older, but they offer appointments before or after hours for younger shoppers.'” (Source: TheBlaze.com)

The attacks on children and innocence never end. But that does not mean we should stop defending children.

Please sign our petition to Doernbecher Children’s Hospital, urging it to pull all its sexual and “transgender” resources from its website at once.

Sign your petition now!

6,445 Signatures

Signature Goal: 20,000


iPhones, Androids, tablets and more are the grimiest, germiest tech devices in your home — how to clean them

Angelica Stabile

In today’s technology age, the devices we pick up, touch, use and place on a variety of surfaces throughout the day can get … totally gross.

A new survey from Asurion Tech Repair & Solutions, the world’s largest tech care solutions company, found that the average person picks up a cell phone an amazing 352 times per day. 

And while 75% of people have admitted to bringing their phone into the bathroom with them (yes, you read that right!) — only 8% of people remember to sanitize their devices afterward.



Now that you’ve just grabbed your disinfecting wipes, here’s a look at some of the grimiest devices in your home and how to clean them. 

iPhones and Androids

A vast majority of people use their phone while doing their business in the bathroom without even thinking of the germs festering on the surface, as noted above.

When you clean your cell phone, remember to remove protective cases from the device to get into the nooks and crannies — and give the case a good wipe-down, too.   

When you clean your cell phone, remember to remove protective cases from the device to get into the nooks and crannies — and give the case a good wipe-down, too.    (iStock)

For a device that’s used so frequently, it’s important to keep your smartphone clean by wiping it with a disinfectant wipe on nonporous surfaces, according to Apple.

Be sure to remove protective cases from the device to get into the nooks and crannies — and give the case a good wipe-down, too.

Children’s tablets

All parents and grandparents know exactly how sticky, gunky and messy kids’ tablets can get.

Here, a three-year-old girl is glued to an iPad in a hotel room during a vacation. (Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)

Here, a three-year-old girl is glued to an iPad in a hotel room during a vacation. (Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)

While being careful not to damage the screen, be sure to wipe off any sticky residue with a disinfectant wipe instead of spraying a solution. 

Then, use a microfiber towel to erase those little fingerprints.


The tablet’s case should also be removed and cleaned with a disinfectant wipe (beware of falling crumbs).

Charging ports, headphone jacks and earpiece speakers

Little crevices can be a challenge to clean, especially when makeup and earwax build-up is gross just to look at, Asurion noted in press materials connected to its survey. 

Charging ports on smartphones, tablets and other devices can be blasted clean with a few short bursts of compressed air, which is also useful for freeing lunchtime crumbs from your laptop’s keyboard.

Earbuds can be detailed with a toothpick and wiped clean with rubbing alcohol on a cotton swab. (iStock)

Earbuds can be detailed with a toothpick and wiped clean with rubbing alcohol on a cotton swab. (iStock)

Device speakers can be cleaned with a soft bristled brush to improve sound quality. 

Earpiece speakers can be detailed with a toothpick and wiped clean with rubbing alcohol on a cotton swab.


Video game consoles and controllers

A video game console isn’t a place you’d normally think to clean out. 

All those nights spent scrolling through Netflix warrant an inspection of your remote control’s sanitary state.

But aside from accumulating dust bunnies, gaming systems are prone to attracting cockroaches and other pests that seek out warm, dark places to nest, especially on the floor in a tight corner.


To avoid an invasion of creepy crawlers, place your gaming systems in a clear space with ample ventilation. 

Asurion Experts recommend clearing the console’s vents with compressed air, a soft-bristled brush (toothbrush, paintbrush, etc.), a microfiber cloth and/or a vacuum with a handheld attachment.

For all those well-handled video game controllers, remember to comb out residue with a toothpick and spray with a rubbing alcohol-water mixture. (iStock)

For all those well-handled video game controllers, remember to comb out residue with a toothpick and spray with a rubbing alcohol-water mixture. (iStock)

Game controllers can get particularly grimy from being handled with sweaty, snack-time-grubby hands. 

Get into the small cracks of those controllers and comb out residue with a toothpick. 

Then, per guidance given to Fox News Digital by cleaning expert Brandon Pleshek, spray your controllers with a 50-50 rubbing alcohol-water mixture and wipe clean.

Remote controls

All those nights spent scrolling through Netflix warrant an inspection of your remote control’s sanitary state.

Use rubbing alcohol on a soft cloth or cotton swab to sanitize the ridges and remote surface of your remote control — and let air dry.

First, remove the batteries and shake out any loose debris between buttons. 

Then, use rubbing alcohol on a soft cloth or cotton swab to sanitize the ridges and remote surface and let air dry.

Asurion, based in Nashville, Tenn., and with locations nationwide, is a tech care company that offers protection, repair, installation and expert support for all devices. Check out more expert advice on caring for your products at asurion.com.


These fruits and vegetables are packed with the most pesticides, 2022 ‘Dirty Dozen’ list reports


Saleen Martin, USA TODAY

What are the filthiest fruits and vegetables at the grocery store? Strawberries, spinach and kale, according to a new report.  

Thursday, nonprofit advocacy organization Environmental Working Group released its annual “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean Fifteen” lists using data from the Department of Agriculture and Food and Drug Administration. View | 12 Photos

The Washington, D.C., group found that more than 90% of strawberry, apple, cherry, spinach, nectarine and grape samples tested positive for residues of two or more pesticides. Kale, collard and mustard greens, hot peppers and bell peppers had the most pesticides. A single sample of kale, collard and mustard greens had up to 21 different pesticides.

Strawberries and leafy greens have been repeat offenders at the top of the list, ranking high in the past two years. Bell and hot peppers tested higher for pesticide residue this year, moving up from No. 10 last year to No. 7 this year.

The produce with the least amount of pesticides? Avocados, sweet corn and pineapple topped the group’s “Clean Fifteen.”

Take a look at this year’s lists below.

‘Dirty Dozen’ for 2022

  1. Strawberries
  2. Spinach
  3. Kale, collard and mustard greens
  4. Nectarines
  5. Apples
  6. Grapes
  7. Bell and hot peppers
  8. Cherries
  9. Peaches
  10. Pears
  11. Celery
  12. Tomatoes

‘Clean Fifteen’ for 2022

  1. Avocados
  2. Sweet corn
  3. Pineapple
  4. Onions
  5. Papaya
  6. Sweet peas (frozen)
  7. Asparagus
  8. Honeydew melon
  9. Kiwi
  10. Cabbage
  11. Mushrooms
  12. Cantaloupe
  13. Mangoes
  14. Watermelon
  15. Sweet Potatoes

This year’s data includes results from nearly 45,000 samples of produce from 2020.

Pesticides have been linked to multiple health issues, including brain development. Their impacts on fertility issues have the strongest data, said Alexis Temkin, an Environmental Working Group toxicologist.

“There’s still, I think, a lot of unknown impacts,” Temkin said. “If you’re reducing the exposure in the first place, then the likelihood of adverse health effects occurring is going to be much less.”

Like the customers who rely on store-bought produce, USDA researchers scrubbed and peeled the fruits and veggies before testing them. Experts say the best way to wash produce is by washing it with just cold water. Pesticide residue was still found on over 70% of the non-organic produce tested. Nearly all of the levels fell under the legal limits allowed by government regulations, Environmental Working Group said.

Teresa Thorne, executive director of the Alliance for Food and Farming, a nonprofit that represents organic and conventional farmers, says Environmental Working Group’s lists concern her.

First, she said, peer-reviewed research has shown that it’s scientifically unsupportable, especially the claim that eating organic foods versus conventionally grown foods will result in lower pesticide exposure.

“Residues on conventional-grown are already so minute if they’re present at all,” she said. “The second thing is is that this list has been shown again through peer-reviewed research to negatively impact consumers. When low-income consumers were exposed to this list and some of the messaging in the Dirty Dozen list, they stated they were less likely to purchase any produce, organic or conventional.”

She said Environmental Working Group’s goal to help families access fruits and vegetables with less pesticide exposure was achieved long ago.

According to Thorne, 99.8% of the fruits and vegetables tested by the USDA under the Pesticide Data Program are well below the Environmental Protection Agency’s safety levels. A third have no detectable residues at all.

“We have 13 million children living in food-insecure households right now. To scare people away from conventional-grown, which is the more affordable and accessible fruits and vegetables in today’s environment, really needs to be better thought through.”


DEA Warns Law Enforcement To Prepare For Surge In ‘Mass-Overdose Events’ From Fentanyl – Breaking911

Comparison of a U.S. penny to a potentially lethal dose of fentanyl. (Source: U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration)

WASHINGTON (DEA) – Today, the Drug Enforcement Administration sent a letter to federal, state, and local law enforcement partners warning of a nationwide spike in fentanyl-related mass-overdose events. Administrator Anne Milgram outlined the current threat and offered DEA support to law enforcement officers responding to these tragic incidents.

“Fentanyl is killing Americans at an unprecedented rate,” said DEA Administrator Anne Milgram. “Already this year, numerous mass-overdose events have resulted in dozens of overdoses and deaths. Drug traffickers are driving addiction, and increasing their profits, by mixing fentanyl with other illicit drugs. Tragically, many overdose victims have no idea they are ingesting deadly fentanyl, until it’s too late.”

Fentanyl-related mass-overdose events, characterized as three or more overdoses occurring close in time and at the same location, have happened in at least seven American cities in recent months, resulting in 58 overdoses and 29 deaths. Cities impacted include Wilton Manors, Florida; Austin, Texas; Cortez, Colorado; Commerce City, Colorado; Omaha, Nebraska; St. Louis, Missouri; and Washington, D.C.

Tragic events like these are being driven by fentanyl. Fentanyl is highly-addictive, found in all 50 states, and drug traffickers are increasingly mixing it with other illicit drugs—in powder and pill form—in an effort to drive addiction and attract repeat buyers. These mass-overdose events typically occur in one of the following recurring scenarios: when drug dealers sell their product as “cocaine,” when it actually contains fentanyl; or when drug dealers sell pills designed to appear nearly identical to legitimate prescriptions, but are actually fake prescription pills containing fentanyl. This is creating a frightening nationwide trend where many overdose victims are dying after unknowingly ingesting fentanyl.

Fentanyl is driving the nationwide overdose epidemic. The CDC estimates that in the 12-month period ending in October 2021, more than 105,000 Americans died of drug overdoses, with 66 percent of those deaths related to synthetic opioids like fentanyl. Last year, the United States suffered more fentanyl-related deaths than gun-and auto-related deaths combined.

When a mass-overdose event occurs, DEA stands ready to offer all available resources to assist law enforcement partners, including:

  • Interdicting the substance that is driving the spike in overdoses;
  • Investigating and identifying the dealers and larger drug trafficking organizations responsible for the overdose event;
  • Providing priority access to all of DEA’s resources, including its labs, chemists, and overdose subject matter experts;
  • Assisting with the presentation of the investigation to federal prosecutors; and
  • Warning the public about the lethal drug threat.

In a call with Administrator Milgram on Tuesday, senior law enforcement officials expressed appreciation for DEA’s commitment and partnership to address the increase in fentanyl-related overdoses and the crimes associated with drug trafficking.

“Fentanyl poisonings are at an all-time high,” said Sheriff Mike Milstead, Minnehaha County, South Dakota Chair, Drug Enforcement Committee, National Sheriffs’ Association. “These are not isolated incidents. These are happening in every state and every county in America, leaving behind grieving families. Let us be clear: These poisonings are part of a strategic maneuver by the cartels and it must be stopped. The nation’s Sheriffs appreciate the spotlight that the Drug Enforcement Administration has put on this horrifying spike of fentanyl poisonings and is committed to putting an end to this tragic trajectory.”

“We applaud the DEA for their leadership and initiatives regarding the investigation of mass-overdose events which have been occurring around the country, including in many of our major cities,” said Chief Jeri Williams, Phoenix Police Department Chief, and President of the Major Cities Chiefs Association. “These casualties are plaguing our communities, and increased partnership and collaboration with our federal partners is most welcomed in order to stop these tragedies from occurring.”

“We must utilize all available resources to combat the opioid and fentanyl epidemic that continues to plague this great nation, said Sheriff Dennis M. Lemma, President of Major County Sheriffs of America. “In addition to those resources, we must shift how we respond to an overdose, no longer treating them as accidental deaths, but instead as a homicide crime scene. These individuals are victims of a greater problem, and we are committed to putting an end to these deaths.”

DEA is working diligently to trace mass-overdose events back to the local drug trafficking organizations and international cartels responsible for the surging domestic supply of fentanyl.  DEA continues to seize fentanyl at record rates. In the first three months of 2022, DEA has seized almost 2,000 pounds of fentanyl and one million fake pills.  Last year, DEA seized more than 15,000 pounds of fentanyl—four times the amount seized in 2017—which is enough to kill every American.

Today’s warning expands on DEA’s September 2021 Public Safety Alert on the increase in the availability and accessibility of fake prescription pills containing fentanyl.


400-Plus Family Dollar Stores Close In Six States After Rodent Infestation Discovered; Recall Instituted


Amanda Prestigiacomo

More than 400 Family Dollar locations in six states temporarily closed Sunday after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration discovered a large rodent infestation at one of the discount retailer’s distribution centers.

Following a consumer complaint, the FDA searched the West Memphis, Arkansas distribution facility in January.

“Family Dollar ceased distribution of products within days of the FDA inspection team’s arrival on-site and the inspection concluded on Feb. 11,” a press release from the FDA said. “Conditions observed during the inspection included live rodents, dead rodents in various states of decay, rodent feces and urine, evidence of gnawing, nesting and rodent odors throughout the facility, dead birds and bird droppings, and products stored in conditions that did not protect against contamination.”

“More than 1,100 dead rodents were recovered from the facility following a fumigation at the facility in January 2022,” the FDA said. “Additionally, a review of the company’s internal records also indicated the collection of more than 2,300 rodents between Mar. 29 and Sep. 17, 2021, demonstrating a history of infestation.”

Family Dollar locations in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Tennessee have been affected.

MassLive reported Monday that the retailer implemented a voluntary recall at the 406 affected stores, including all drug products; “medical devices; cosmetics; dietary supplements; and human and animal (pet) food products.”

“The recall does not apply to products shipped directly to the stores by the distributor or manufacturer, such as all frozen and refrigerated items,” the report said, added that Family Dollar, to date, “said it is not aware of any consumer complaints or reports of illness related to this recall.”

“Consumers are advised not to use and to contact the company regarding impacted products,” the FDA said. “The agency is also advising that all drugs, medical devices, cosmetics and dietary supplements, regardless of packaging, be discarded. Food in non-permeable packaging (such as undamaged glass or all-metal cans) may be suitable for use if thoroughly cleaned and sanitized. Consumers should wash their hands immediately after handling any products from the affected Family Dollar stores.”

“Consumers who recently purchased affected products should contact a health care professional immediately if they have health concerns after using or handling impacted products,” the press release added. “Rodent contamination may cause Salmonella and infectious diseases, which may pose the greatest risk to infants, children, pregnant women, the elderly and immunocompromised people.”

View the full FDA press release, below (emphasis by the FDA):

Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is alerting the public that several categories of FDA-regulated products purchased from Jan. 1, 2021, through the present from Family Dollar stores in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee may be unsafe for consumers to use. The impacted products originated from the company’s distribution facility in West Memphis, Arkansas, where an FDA inspection found insanitary conditions, including a rodent infestation, that could cause many of the products to become contaminated. The FDA is working with the company to initiate a voluntary recall of the affected products.

“Families rely on stores like Family Dollar for products such as food and medicine. They deserve products that are safe,” said Associate Commissioner for Regulatory Affairs Judith McMeekin, Pharm.D. “No one should be subjected to products stored in the kind of unacceptable conditions that we found in this Family Dollar distribution facility. These conditions appear to be violations of federal law that could put families’ health at risk. We will continue to work to protect consumers.”

This alert covers FDA-regulated products purchased from Family Dollar stores in those six states from Jan. 1, 2021, through the present. Some examples of these products include human foods (including dietary supplements (vitamin, herbal and mineral supplements)), cosmetics (skincare products, baby oils, lipsticks, shampoos, baby wipes), animal foods (kibble, pet treats, wild bird seed), medical devices (feminine hygiene products, surgical masks, contact lens cleaning solutions, bandages, nasal care products) and over-the-counter (OTC) medications (pain medications, eye drops, dental products, antacids, other medications for both adults and children).

Consumers are advised not to use and to contact the company regarding impacted products. The agency is also advising that all drugs, medical devices, cosmetics and dietary supplements, regardless of packaging, be discarded. Food in non-permeable packaging (such as undamaged glass or all-metal cans) may be suitable for use if thoroughly cleaned and sanitized. Consumers should wash their hands immediately after handling any products from the affected Family Dollar stores.

Consumers who recently purchased affected products should contact a health care professional immediately if they have health concerns after using or handling impacted products. Rodent contamination may cause Salmonella and infectious diseases, which may pose the greatest risk to infants, children, pregnant women, the elderly and immunocompromised people.

Following a consumer complaint, the FDA began an investigation of the Family Dollar distribution facility in West Memphis, Arkansas, in January 2022. Family Dollar ceased distribution of products within days of the FDA inspection team’s arrival on-site and the inspection concluded on Feb. 11. Conditions observed during the inspection included live rodents, dead rodents in various states of decay, rodent feces and urine, evidence of gnawing, nesting and rodent odors throughout the facility, dead birds and bird droppings, and products stored in conditions that did not protect against contamination. More than 1,100 dead rodents were recovered from the facility following a fumigation at the facility in January 2022. Additionally, a review of the company’s internal records also indicated the collection of more than 2,300 rodents between Mar. 29 and Sep. 17, 2021, demonstrating a history of infestation.

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“1 Drop of This Essential Oil for a Better Night’s Sleep | Dr. Mandell”

Bird Flu Detected in Multiple States Last Week Official Say


A flock of 246,000 chickens belonging to Tyson Foods in Kentucky, has become infected with a lethal form of bird flu, government officials confirmed on Monday.​

The discovery intensifies an ongoing outbreak of bird flu in the U.S. involving poultry operations in Kentucky and Virgina, and follows the destruction of 29,000 turkeys in Indiana, that were detected on February 9..

The discovery of the H5N1 strain of highly infectious pathogenic avian influenza, or HPAI, last week in Dubois County, Indiana, was the first detection of the virus in commercial poultry in the United States since 2020 the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) said. 

The USDA added that avian influenza does not present an immediate public health concern as a human case of these avian flu viruses has yet to be detected in the U.S. 

In a statement released to Just Food earlier this week, Tyson Foods said, “We are actively working with state and federal officials to prevent the spread of the virus. Although the origin of the infection is not known, avian influenza has been found in migratory wild birds, which lay a significant role in spreading the disease.”

Tyson’s statement added, “We are prepared for situations like this, and we have robust plans in place, which we are now executing, including heightening biosecurity measures at other farms in the region, placing additional restrictions on outside visitors, and continuing our practice of testing all flocks for avian influenza before birds leave the farms.”

Tyson foods said in a statement to USA TODAY that they were working with Tennessee and Kentucky state officials, as well as federal officials, to prevent the spread.

Tyson continued, “Because the affected farm in Kentucky is only one of the thousands of farms that raise chickens for our company, the situation is not expected to impact our overall chicken production levels. Tyson Foods’ chicken products remain safe: the USDA confirms that avian influenza does not pose a food safety risk to consumers in poultry that is properly prepared and cooked.”

The USDA said in their statement to USA TODAY, “At this time, our goal is to continue to monitor the presence of ‘highly pathogenic avian influenza’ in wild bird populations, and to quick identify any instances where the virus spreads to commercial or backyard birds.”


2 young Asian elephants die days apart at US zoo


LEE BULLEN | Zenger News

An elephant virus is responsible for the deaths of two calves at a New Mexico zoo since Christmas Day, according to the Albuquerque BioPark.

A statement from the park said that Jazmine, 8, died from the effects of her infection on Jan. 2, and her brother, Thorn, 3 died from the same virus on Dec. 25.

2 young Asian elephants die days apart at US zoo. Jazmine and Thorn are seen playing and feeding in this video prior to their deaths. (Albuquerque BioPark)

The calves died after being diagnosed with elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus, known as EEHV, the zoo said. The virus also killed a 5-year-old Asian elephant calf named Daizy in 2015.

“While not much is known about EEHV, the disease can progress rapidly, and early detection is critical,” the zoo said.

The zoo shared video of Thorn, and said that since he was a baby, “Thorn was trained to be active in his health care and voluntarily participate in medical exams, including presenting his ears to allow for a weekly blood draw. This behavior, along with weekly testing, allowed the biopark’s animal care team to discover the virus in Thorn’s blood at a very low level. The BioPark staff immediately began working around the clock to treat the illness. Treatments started with antiviral medications and fluids. As Thorn’s disease continued to progress, the team shifted to twice-daily sedated treatments to ensure he was getting everything he needed, in addition to the non-sedated fluid and antiviral treatments. He also received regular infusions of plasma, whole blood and stem cells.”

The National Elephant Herpesvirus Lab at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington, D.C., provided bloodwork services and EEHV expertise, the zoo said, and additional assistance came from other accredited zoos.

“Thorn’s short life had a great impact on the lives of other elephants,” the zoo said. “His birth was significant because he was born in the presence of his sister, Jazmine, and grandmother, Alice. This natural herd birth was a huge advancement in the care and socialization of elephants in human care.

“He was also raised in a multi-age herd that includes his sister, grandmother, mother Rozie, adult male Albert and adult female Irene. The zoo’s practices that allowed Thorn and the rest of the herd to use their natural behaviors are leading the way for elephant care across the United States and the world.”

In the case of Jazmine, “the zoo’s elephant experts and veterinary teams did everything in their power — and then some” to help her, said the park’s director, Stephanie Stowell. “Jazmine matched their efforts every step along the way. True to her strong-willed nature, Jazmine fought valiantly against the disease.

“Adding to the anguish of losing a beloved animal, Jazmine’s death marks a considerable loss to the future of Asian elephants. Jazmine was on a carefully planned path to become an elephant matriarch.

Had Jazmine survived, the zoo said, “her skills and experiences would have enabled her to raise her own calves and lead elephants in her own multigenerational herd.

“Jazmine’s short life will have a long-term impact on other elephants in human care as well as in the wild.”

Stowell said all elephants can carry EEHV in a latent state throughout their entire lives without negative effects.

It is not known why the virus sometimes comes out of latency, she said.

“Elephants are most susceptible to EEHV from 18 months to 8 years of age. EEHV causes hemorrhagic disease that can be fatal for young elephants. It is the leading cause of death for Asian elephant calves and can strike elephants in the wild and in human care.

“Each case of EEHV hemorrhagic disease, while tragic, does provide us with more information on its causes, transmission, and treatment. The elephant community rallied around Albuquerque BioPark to provide support with husbandry, treatment, and testing.

“We are devastated by these latest two deaths, and we hope that the incredible cooperation amongst our colleagues will continue to provide answers on how best to prevent these deaths,” said Erin Latimer, a spokesperson for the EEHV Advisory Group that dedicated their time to administering the EEHV treatment regime.


Man Receives Heart Transplant From Genetically Altered Pig: ‘This Has Never Been Done Before’


Charlotte Pence Bond

A 57-year-old man with serious heart disease was given a heart from a genetically modified pig in a new, unprecedented transplant operation

The New York Times reported on the “first successful transplant of a pig’s heart into a human being,” a procedure that lasted eight hours and took place in Baltimore, Maryland, on Friday. The man, David Bennett Sr., received the heart and was in good condition on Monday, per surgeons at the University of Maryland Medical Center. 

“It creates the pulse, it creates the pressure, it is his heart,” said Dr. Bartley Griffith, who carried out the operation. He is the director of the cardiac transplant program at the center. 

Griffith added, “It’s working and it looks normal. We are thrilled, but we don’t know what tomorrow will bring us. This has never been done before.”

“This is a watershed event,” said Dr. David Klassen, the chief medical officer of the United Network for Organ Sharing and a transplant doctor. “Doors are starting to open that will lead, I believe, to major changes in how we treat organ failure.” 

“Events like these can be dramatized in the press, and it’s important to maintain perspective,” Klassen added. “It takes a long time to mature a therapy like this.” He noted that there are lots of challenges to surpass before an operation like this one could be widely done.

Bennett chose to go forward with the procedure because he would not have survived without getting a new heart, had already gone through with other treatments, and was not healthy enough to meet the qualifications for a heart from a human donor, per members of his family and physicians, according to the Times. 

Bennett is still on a heart-lung bypass machine, as he was before the procedure took place, but that is not uncommon for someone who has newly received a heart transplant, according to medical experts.

His physicians stated that he could be brought off the machine on Tuesday. He is also being carefully watched for evidence that his body is fighting the new organ transplant, but he got through the first 48 hours without problems, which is reportedly an important time period. 

“It was either die or do this transplant,” Bennett said before the surgery, according to authorities at the University of Maryland Medical Center. “I want to live. I know it’s a shot in the dark, but it’s my last choice.”

The outlet reported that the heart which was put into Bennett’s body “came from a genetically altered pig provided by Revivicor, a regenerative medicine company based in Blacksburg, Va.”

The animal “had 10 genetic modifications. Four genes were knocked out, or inactivated, including one that encodes a molecule that causes an aggressive human rejection response,” the outlet noted, adding that a growth gene was also deactivated to not allow the pig’s heart to keep growing after implantation. 

“In addition, six human genes were inserted into the genome of the donor pig — modifications designed to make the porcine organs more tolerable to the human immune system,” the Times noted. 

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave the transplant doctors an emergency authorization for the procedure on New Year’s Eve. 

Dr. Christine Lau is the chair of the Department of Surgery at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and was in the operating room during the procedure. 

“He’s at more of a risk because we require more immunosuppression, slightly different than we would normally do in a human-to-human transplant. How well the patient does from now is, you know, it’s never been done before so we really don’t know,” she told the BBC. 

“People die all the time on the waiting list, waiting for organs. If we could use genetically engineered pig organs they’d never have to wait, they could basically get an organ as they needed it. …Plus, we wouldn’t have to fly all over the country at night-time to recover organs to put them into recipients,” she added.

The Times noted that there is an organ shortage and around twelve people on the transplant waiting lists die every day. 

The pandemic has impacted the low number of organ donations and transplant operations, as well. 

A May 2020 report from Penn Medicine News noted that by early April 2020 transplant centers in France and the United States were carrying out fewer deceased donor transplants than they had been one month prior. 

The findings, published in The Lancet in May of 2020, noted, “The overall reduction in deceased donor transplantations since the COVID-19 outbreak was 90·6% in France and 51·1% in the USA, respectively.”


CDC Director: Over 75% Of COVID Deaths In Vaccinated Had ‘At Least 4 Comorbidities’


Hank Berrien

Asked on ABC’s “Good Morning America” about a study showing that vaccines targeting COVID-19 and its variants have successfully prevented serious illness, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the head of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), said the “overwhelming” number of deaths in vaccinated people occurred in those who had at least four comorbidities.

Walensky started by answering a question about the new CDC guidelines that suggest that people who have contracted the virus should isolate for only five days, reduced from the previous numbers, and then reintegrate into society wearing a mask. She replied:

Isolation, we talk about isolation in the context of people who’ve had a positive test, who know that they are infected. And we now have dozens of studies referenced on the CDC website that have demonstrated that you are most infectious in the one to two days before your symptoms and the two to three days after your symptoms. So by five days after your symptoms, the vast majority of your contagiousness is really behind you.

“And what we say at day five, then, is: Are your symptoms gone? Are you feeling better? Is your cough gone? Sore throat gone?” she continued. “And if so, then it is safe to go out if you are wearing a mask all the time. And that means not going out to restaurants; not going out to gyms, not going out in visiting grandma, but really conscientiously wearing your mask for those last five days.”

“Now, some have said they are interested in using an antigen or a home test at the end of those five days, and if people are interested and have access then they may choose to take that extra step and do that antigen test,” she stated, adding, “And that means that if that test is positive, you should stay home for five days but if that test is negative, you should go out and continue to wear your mask.”

Asked about a new study showing how successful vaccines have been in preventing serious illness and whether that should provoke rethinking about how to live with the virus in perpetuity, Walensky appealed to a study that shows that 78% of vaccinated persons who died had more than four comorbidities.

“The overwhelming number of deaths, over 75%, occurred in people who had at least four comorbidities. So, really, these are people who were unwell to begin with. And yes, really encouraging news in the context of Omicron; this means not only just to get your primary series but to get your booster series. And yes, we’re really encouraged by these results.”

The study, from the CDC, says: “Among 1,228,664 persons who completed primary vaccination during December 2020–October 2021, severe COVID-19–associated outcomes (0.015%) or death (0.0033%) were rare. Risk factors for severe outcomes included age ≥65 years, immunosuppressed, and six other underlying conditions. All persons with severe outcomes had at least one risk factor; 78% of persons who died had at least four.”

On Sunday, Walensky was asked by Fox News anchor Bret Baier how many of the 800k+ covid deaths in America were “with covid” as opposed to “from covid.” He inquired, “Do you know how many of the 836,000 deaths in the U.S. linked to COVID are from COVID or how many are withCOVID but they had other comorbidities? Do you have that breakdown?”

“Yes, of course with Omicron we’re following that very carefully,” Walensky dodged. “Our death registry, of course, takes a few weeks to — and is a — takes a few weeks to collect, and of course, Omicron has just been with us for a few weeks, but those data will be forthcoming.”

This article has been updated to include the context of Walensky’s remarks, which was about deaths in the vaccinated, not the unvaccinated. The study has been added as well. 


Died of Heart Attacks

In Zinc We Trust

Iowa Climate Science Education

Our immune systems fail us without zinc in our bodies. Diana Kwon explains at Knowable magazine How zinc helps you fight off infections.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Our bodies require the vital mineral for the healthy functioning of the immune system

As researchers learn more about how our bodies use zinc, they’re finding that the element plays a surprisingly key role, particularly within the immune system. “We think zinc is a gatekeeper of immune function,” says Lothar Rink, an immunologist at RWTH Aachen University in Germany who recently coauthored an overview of zinc’s roles in the immune system in the 2021 Annual Review of Nutrition.

And, although scientists still struggle to find good ways to measure zinc levels in the body, it looks as though many people may indeed not have enough zinc in their diet for full immune function.

An essential element

Too little zinc is…

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Another cheap safe way to cut Covid by 80% that the Health Dept can ignore

Iowa Climate Science Education


In more news you can use before Christmas, here?s another cheap easy way to put the brakes on Covid is with the antiseptic Povidone Iodine.

While Carrageenan can clog up the virus in the passages behind your nose, it doesn?t necessarily do much to stop the virus replicating in your mouth and throat. But a regular swish or a sniff with Povidone-iodine can reduce the viral load to nothing in a matter of 15 to 30 seconds. Note, you?re supposed to spit it out again, not drink it and make sure to use a very dilute solution.

Saliva can contain as many as 100 million infectious copies of Covid per ml, so the aim here is to reduce the number drastically every four hours. It?ll stop you infecting people around you, and probably help buy you time to fight back against the virus.

Between February and August last year Choudhury

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omicron: South African medical association says Omicron variant causes ‘mild disease’ – Times of India


ANI / Nov 27, 2021, 16:41 IST 2 – 3 minutes

JOHANNESBURG: The new Omicron variant of the coronavirus results in mild disease, without prominent syndromes, Angelique Coetzee, the chairwoman of the South African Medical Association, told Sputnik on Saturday.

The World Health Organization (WHO) identified on Friday the new South African strain as one of concern, as it is reported to carry a high number of mutations — 32 — which possibly makes it more transmissible and dangerous. The WHO has dubbed it Omicron, the 15th letter of the Greek alphabet.

“It presents mild disease with symptoms being sore muscles and tiredness for a day or two not feeling well. So far, we have detected that those infected do not suffer loss of taste or smell. They might have a slight cough. There are no prominent symptoms. Of those infected some are currently being treated at home,” Coetzee said
The official noted that hospitals have not been overburdened by Omicron patients and that the new strain is not been detected in vaccinated persons. At the same time, the situation might be different for the unvaccinated.
“We will only know this after two weeks. Yes, it is transmissible, but for now, as medical practitioners, we do not know why so much hype is being driven as we are still looking into it. We will only know after two to three weeks as there are some patients admitted and these are young people aged 40 and younger,” Coetzee added.

The chairwoman also criticized the decision by some countries to ban flights from South Africa is premature as there is not enough information on how dangerous it is.
Following the reports about the new variant, the United States, the European Union, Canada, Israel, Australia and other countries have restricted travel from several southern African nations over the health concerns.


Holidays and Companions


And don’t trust the cat either 😺

Guardians Of Life

With the holidays coming upon us once again, and as such, I think it is necessary to remind guardians of their responsibility to keep their companions safe. With Thanksgiving meals, it’s wise not to give your companion any “turkey or chicken” bones. These items can splinter off and cause lacerations in your companion’s throat and stomach. Or will not pass through their intestine tract, causing severe blockages.

When it comes to Pumpkin pie, no companion animal should have any because it’s filled with sugar, which can cause stomach issues. However, if you want your companion to enjoy the holidays with you, there are plenty of safe food recipes for your companions to try.

Companion Safe Recipe links:

Firework safety, like with July 4th, you need to be prepared to handle the noise and anxiety your pet may be dealing with at the time. New Year’s Eve does…

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