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
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.
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 Wellreports.
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.”
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
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.
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)
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.
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.
3/3 If someone has heart arrhythmia, they can drop dead from a heart attack instantly. 50% of people with my¤carditis die within 5 yrs. Another 80% die within 10 yrs. So sad these young healthy athletes murdered, yes murdered by these evil scumbags mandating the death 'va xxines'
LONDON — Britain is increasingly feeling like a hostile place for women.
There have been multiple reports of “needle spiking” — which involves an injection being administered to someone without their knowledge or consent, usually in a nightclub or bar setting — as opposed to the more commonly known method of contaminating alcoholic drinks.
Zara Owen, a 19-year-old student in Nottingham, central England, said she woke up after clubbing with a “sharp, agonizing pain in my leg” and “almost zero recollection” of the night before. She walked with a limp for the remainder of the day, she wrote on social media, before finding a “pinprick” and realizing that she had been “spiked” by a needle that had pierced through her jeans.
Thankfully, she added, her friends — who had noticed her behaving strangely — helped her to return safely home.
“The fact that this form of spiking is happening is horrifying, with the memory loss it brought me,” Owen told The Washington Post. “What is supposed to be a fun night leads us to almost fear the unknown.”
The Nottinghamshire police said this week that it had received a total of 15 reports of alleged spiking with a sharp object since Oct. 2, with the majority of reports made by women, in venues across the popular university town. Two men had been arrested so far on “suspicion of conspiracy to administer poison with intent to injure, annoy or aggrieve,” the police added on Friday.
The reported needle-spiking incidents come aftertwo high-profile murders of women on the streets, which have left Britain stunned. The overall number of reported needle-spiking incidents remains far below the number of drink-spiking incidents thought to occur, and the incidents not yet been linked to other crimes such as rape or theft, but police chiefs have been asked to urgently assess how widespread the attacks are around the country, while the home secretary has also expressed concern.“We need to make sure that we earn back the trust and confidence particularly of women and girls. And that takes an approach that isn’t just the police’s problem, but all of our problem… I think misogyny should be a hate crime, and we’re lobbying the government to make sure that harassment in a public place is a criminal offense.” (Washington Post Live)
In September, a U.K. watchdog called violence against women “an epidemic” and said authorities should treat it with as much urgency as fighting terrorism. On average, a woman is killed by a man in the United Kingdom every three days, it said.
The reports of needle spiking were “deeply worrying” said Melissa Green, general secretary of the National Federation of Women’s Institutes. The cases “again remind us that our public spaces are not truly safe for women,” Green told The Post.
Police have also been criticized for their approach — including their advice to women, following the death of Everard, to shout or wave down a bus if they encounter a lone police officer they do not trust — which some said continued to place the onus on women.
“The W.I. does not agree that it is the responsibility of women to educate themselves or alter their behavior to try and keep themselves safe. … What is actually needed is action from the whole of society,” Green added.
The needle-spiking cases have also prompted a public petition urging politicians to enact tougher laws to search guests on arrival to nightclubs. As of Saturday, it had garnered more than 165,000 signatories, which will trigger the British parliament to consider the petition for a debate.
Meanwhile, from Wales to Birmingham, female students across the United Kingdom are hosting a “Girls Night In” public campaign over the next two weeks to boycott nightclubs and draw attention to the issue of needle spiking and women’s safety.
Owen told The Post that she would “like to see more change in nightclubs,” including better searches before people enter.
Meanwhile Nia Gallagher, 20, has been using her TikTok platform — where she has almost 300,000 followers, to spread awareness about spiking incidents and personal safety.
Gallagher said she had her drink spiked when she was 18, after she left her drink briefly unattended while out in a Dublin nightclub. The spiking of her drink left her severely unwell for over a week and wiped her memory, she said, although she made it safely home and was not attacked.
“I let my guard down and that’s why it happened to me,” she told The Post, adding that news of the latest attacks was “really upsetting.”
“A lot of people turned 18 over lockdown so it’s their first time going to nightclubs … so I just wanted to warn people,” she said.
It’s unclear what exact drugs are being administered in the syringes. However, Shirin Lakhani, a cosmetic doctor and former anesthetist, said needles and prescription drugs, such as pain killers and opium-based medicines, are extremely easy to get hold of online and assailants would require little knowledge of how to inject under the skin.
“Needles have gotten really fine now and you can get needles as fine as hairs, so it’s possible not to notice, especially in a club environment with the noise,” she told The Post.
Lakhani said images on social media suggested the attackers were targeting hands in particular, with bruises taking some time to manifest.
“It’s appalling that we have to look after ourselves in this way,” said the doctor and mother of two girls. “It’s another way to carry out misogynistic attacks.”
Targeting chemicals of concern in our food, products and environment and offering cleaner, better solutions. Chemical-Free Life… utilizing scientific research, public education and science-based wellness programs to help consumers live cleaner, healthier lives.
A training/consulting, research and education organization focusing on the link between synthetic and industrialized chemicals of concern and adverse health outcomes and offering cleaner, better solutions.
Our modern times leave us inundated with potentially health damaging synthetic and industrialized chemicals in our food, personal care products, pet products and home environment. Scientific evidence has demonstrated that exposure can trigger a myriad of adverse symptoms and even serious, chronic illness. With the thousands of synthetic and industrialized chemicals in use today–many of them unlisted–learning which chemicals to avoid can be overwhelming.
Food preservatives, dyes, additives like emulsifiers, texturizing agents, and flavor enhancers, pesticides, synthetic growth hormones, antibiotics and other animal drugs, are all a pervasive part of the typical diet in the U.S. (there are currently more than 10,000 synthetic and industrialized chemicals in the U.S. food supply) and many have been linked to serious health-related problems.
In fact, there have been several decades of scholarly scientific and medical studies, anecdotal reports and clinical trials that have produced evidence linking a number of synthetic and industrialized food chemicals to a myriad of adverse health conditions including heart disease, insulin resistance/impaired glucose tolerance, and diabetes, weight gain/obesity, depression, anxiety, behavioral, mood and psychiatric disorders, insomnia/sleep disturbances, attention deficit disorder, hyperactivity, memory and concentration difficulties, nausea, fatigue, ear infections, swollen lymph nodes, urticaria, edema, intestinal disturbances and digestive disorders, respiratory problems and asthma-related difficulties, fibroid tumors, cancer, endocrine dysfunction, infertility, nasal polyps, rhinitis, autoimmune disorders, migraines/headaches, allergic reactions, liver and kidney disease, bladder infections, and more.
Fortunately, there is a solution. By simply learning what these problematic synthetic and industrialized chemicals are, where they are hiding, and the strategies for locating alternatives, not only can you avoid these unwanted additives, but you can eat healthier and better tasting food than you ever imagined.
. . .
Chemical-Free Life is dedicated to scientific research, public education and science-based wellness programs focusing on the link between synthetic chemicals and adverse health consequences, and offering safer, cleaner, BETTER SOLUTIONS.
Chemical-Free Consulting Programs, Research, Public Education
. . .
The Chemical-Free-Life.org Programs are scientifically-based care system developed to uncover which synthetic chemicals in your food, personal care, and household products hold the potential to be the most problematic for you personally. Based on decades of scientific research, our system analyzes your Lifestyle and Sensitivity Profile and then creates a personalized, user-friendly program of alternatives based on that analysis.
Programs include a personalized diagnostic assessment, weekly private, one-on-one telephone consultation sessions and access to “life line” calls, and a recovery kit that includes a condition-specific diet and lifestyle prescription for success.
Our science-based programs will walk you through each step in the process of discovering which specific additives are the most problematic for you personally, where they are hiding, and teach you easy, practical strategies for living a life with cleaner, better solutions.
Scientific Research: Including designing/conducting scientific studies examining public opinion and consumer perceptions and behavior examining sociological, political, health, environmental and economic antecedents and consequences of the increasing numbers of chemicals of concern in the food supply and home and personal care product industries.
The BOOK: A science-based, user-friendly comprehensive guide to all the food additives linked in scientific and medical studies to adverse health consequences, where they are hiding, and proven, practical strategies for how to avoid them!
An outbreak of avian salmonellosis is killing songbirds in the Bay Area.
Please take down your birdfeeders IMMEDIATELY if you see sick or dead birds in your yard!
Update February 18, 2021: WildCare continues to admit multiple songbirds ill with salmonellosis every day. Although the numbers have decreased slightly, the outbreak is NOT over.
This disease is spread from bird to bird primarily at bird feeders and bird baths.
Just since the new year began, WildCare has admitted over 40 Pine Siskins with the symptoms of salmonellosis. Sadly, the vast majority of these beautiful little songbirds have died.
WildCare’s Hotline 415-456-7283 has received multiple calls about ill and dead songbirds in people’s yards from throughout the Bay Area, indicating there is a widespread outbreak of bacterial disease.
The disease salmonellosis is a common causes of disease and death in wild birds.
Bird feeders bring large numbers of birds into close contact with each other, which means diseases can spread quickly through multiple populations. The bacteria are primarily transmitted through contact with fecal matter, so birds at a crowded feeder are much more likely to be exposed than birds in a wild setting.
A healthy Pine Siskin shows his sleek plumage. Photo by Tom Grey
If you have dead or sick birds in your yard:
Immediately REMOVE bird feeders and birdbaths.
Disinfect with 9:1 bleach solution (9 parts water to 1 part bleach.)
Scrub well to remove all debris and allow to soak 10 – 20 minutes.
Rinse very well and allow to dry in the sun.
Do not rehang feeders or bird baths for at least three weeks after the last sick or dead bird is seen in your yard.
Resterilize and allow to dry before rehanging.
Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water after handling feeders or baths.
If you have not yet seen sick or dead birds:
Please use the following guidelines as preventative measures to protect your local birds from a outbreaks of Salmonella and other avian diseases. These measures should also be practiced as regularly scheduled maintenance to ensure healthy birds:
Bird feeders should be disinfected every other day, or at least once a week, while the outbreak is active.
Bird baths should be emptied and cleaned daily, regardless of disease outbreaks.
For feeders: Do not use wooden feeders (they easily harbor bacteria and other pathogens). Immerse feeders in a 10% bleach solution (9 parts water to 1 part bleach.) Soak 10 minutes, scrub, rinse thoroughly and allow to dry fully, ideally in the sun, before refilling (a dry feeder will deter mold growth on seeds).
For baths: You can make a 9:1 bleach solution in a jug to bring outside. Scrub with a hard brush, cover with board while soaking to prevent birds bathing in bleach, rinse very thoroughly, allow to dry before refilling.
For hummingbird feeders: NO BLEACH! Change food often. Clean and fill with only enough to last 1-2 days (sooner if gets cloudy/moldy). Use vinegar and water in a 9:1 solution (9 parts water to 1 part vinegar) and special bottle brushes to get into small holes. Rinse thoroughly!
Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water after handling feeders or baths.
Always wear gloves (latex or dishwashing) to keep bleach off your skin and a facemask to keep from accidentally ingesting feces, bleach, etc.
Always keep a large tray under feeder to collect hulls/seed that fall. Empty discards every evening. This will prevent mold & disease spreading to ground-feeding birds and will also prevent rodent infestations.
Keep cats indoors if you have birdfeeders.
Another suggestion to prevent wildlife problems (from rats, raccoons, skunks, etc.) is to bring feeders inside at night.
Bird feeders should be disinfected every two weeks regardless of disease outbreaks.
Bird baths should be emptied and cleaned daily regardless of disease outbreaks.
How likely is it that kids or adults could get Salmonella from handling the bird feeder or feed?
Salmonella is primarily transmitted through contact with fecal matter, so, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), avoiding hand-to-mouth contact during, and washing hands thoroughly with soap and water after contact with birds or their fecal matter will minimize or eliminate any risk.
The following recommendations from the CDC pertain to avoiding contracting Salmonella from domestic or exotic pets, but the general rules apply to wild bird feeders too.
Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water right after touching animals, their food (e.g., dry dog or cat food, frozen feeder rodents, etc.) or anything in the area where they live and roam.
Running water and soap are best. Use hand sanitizers if running water and soap are not available. Be sure to wash your hands with soap and water as soon as a sink is available. Adults should always supervise hand washing for young children.
Do not let children younger than 5 years of age, older individuals, or people with weakened immune systems handle or touch high-risk animals (e.g., turtles, water frogs, chicks, ducklings), or anything in the area where they live and roam, including water from containers or aquariums.
How can I avoid transmitting Salmonella from the birdfeeder in my yard into my home?
The CDC recommends always cleaning items that have been in contact with animals outside. If it is necessary to clean a feeder indoors, the sink or tub used for cleaning should be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected with a bleach solution afterward.
Common sense precautions to avoid tracking bird feces into the house should be taken including checking shoes for fecal matter.
Are the domesticated birds in my home at risk?
Check with your veterinarian if you are concerned about your pet birds. Salmonella bacteria are transferred between birds from contact with fecal matter, so making sure domestic birds do not come into contact with the droppings, seeds or hulls from your wild bird feeders is the first step to ensuring their safety.
Can my cat get salmonellosis from an infected bird?
Check with your veterinarian if you are worried about your cat. Studies have shown that it is possible for predator animals to get salmonellosis from eating their prey, and cats can contract the disease. Cats under stress or with weakened immune systems are more susceptible to the infection.
WildCare strongly recommends keeping your cat indoors to prevent him or her from coming in contact with sick birds or other hazards, but also to protect the songbirds that are drawn to your yard by your feeder.
Is my dog likely to get salmonellosis from playing in the yard?
Check with your veterinarian if you are concerned about your dog or other pets. Salmonella is transferred from contact with fecal matter, so making sure domestic pets do not come into contact with the droppings, seeds or hulls from your wild bird feeders is the first step to ensuring their safety.
How often should I rake the hulls and fallen seed under my bird feeders?
According to Melanie Piazza, WildCare’s Director of Animal Care, for optimal bird health, and especially in an outbreak situation like this one, hulls should be removed every night.
The problem with feeder seed and hulls is that the birds sit above and knock seed down to the ground, but also drop their droppings down. As Salmonella and other bacteria are transmitted through feces, this means a concentration of potentially infected feces beneath the feeders which can be dangerous to ground-feeding birds, even when there isn’t an epidemic.
In fact, Melanie says that raking the hulls isn’t necessarily sufficient. The best choice is to put a pan or, even better, a sheet held down by rocks under the feeders and remove it and dispose of the hulls every night. This will also prevent rat and mouse infestations which is a bonus.
I’ve heard wood is better for cutting boards in the kitchen. Why do you recommend against wooden bird feeders?
This is a somewhat controversial issue in the kitchen— there are studies both proving and disproving the bacteria-killing properties of wooden cutting boards, and many chefs do prefer wooden cutting boards.
Whatever the best choice is for the kitchen, WildCare still recommends against wooden bird feeders for the following reasons:
Wooden bird feeders sit outside 24 hours a day and get cracked, soft and moldy which, Salmonella aside, can be detrimental to songbirds.
The wood used for bird feeders is usually not the same hardwood used for cutting boards and softer woods are more likely to mold and rot, trapping bacteria.
People are often less likely to want to bleach their wooden feeders because frequent soaking in bleach (especially of feeders made of pine and softer woods) will ruin them.
A plastic feeder will last longer through the recommended bleach soakings and can be rinsed and dried more thoroughly.
The main point, however, is no matter what kind of feeder you have, be sure to keep it clean!
The Foundation for Interdisciplinary Research and Education Promoting Animal Welfare [FIREPAW] is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit research and education foundation
The rules of nature tell us that large, long-lived animals should have the highest risk of cancer. The calculation is simple: Tumors grow when genetic mutations cause individual cells to reproduce too quickly. A long life creates more opportunities for those cancerous mutations to arise. So, too, does a massive body: Big creatures — which have many more cells — should develop tumors more frequently. Why, then, does cancer rarely afflict elephants, with their long lifespans and gargantuan bodies? Scientists went looking for the answer…
The first discovery was that elephants possess extra copies of a wide variety of genes associated with tumor suppression. But this phenomenon is not unique to elephants, so they pressed on for more information…
“One of the expectations is that as you get a really big body, your burden of cancer should increase because things with big bodies have more cells. The fact that this isn’t true across species — a long-standing paradox in evolutionary medicine and cancer biology — indicates that evolution found a way to reduce cancer risk.”
-Vincent Lynch, PhD, assistant professor, Department of Biological Sciences, University at Buffalo College of Arts and Sciences
The research concluded that duplication of tumor suppressor genes is quite common among elephants’ living and extinct relatives, including in small ones like Cape golden moles (a burrowing animal) and elephant shrews (a long-nosed insectivore). The data suggest that tumor suppression capabilities preceded or coincided with the evolution of exceptionally big bodies, facilitating this development.
“We found that: Elephants have lots and lots and lots of extra copies of tumor suppressor genes, and they all contribute probably a little bit to cancer resistance.”
-Vincent Lynch, PhD, assistant professor, Department of Biological Sciences, University at Buffalo College of Arts and Sciences
The final analysis: Elephants do have enhanced cancer protections, compared with relatives. Though many elephant relatives harbor extra copies of tumor suppressor genes, the scientists found that elephant genomes possess some unique duplications that may contribute to tumor suppression through genes involved in DNA repair; resistance to oxidative stress; and cellular growth, aging and death.
Journal Reference: Juan M Vazquez, Vincent J Lynch. Pervasive duplication of tumor suppressors in Afrotherians during the evolution of large bodies and reduced cancer risk. eLife, 2021; 10 DOI: 10.7554/eLife.65041
recipient: United, Anthem, Aetna and Cigna Health Care
93,303 SUPPORTERS 95,000 GOAL When California became the first state to approve medical marijuana in 1996, the idea was groundbreaking. Now, however, more than half the United States has legal protections for medical marijuana in some form or another — that translates to 70% of the American population. Medical marijuana products are now readily available throughout much of the country and have been used to treat everything from multiple sclerosis and cancer to anxiety and migraines.
But despite being legal for nearly a quarter century and its growing list of proven benefits. Marijuana patients that suffer from debilitating diseases get absolutely no help from their health insurance company. Even when the doctor has written them a script similar to one for any other doctor prescribed medicine.
While prices have dropped in states with full legalization of marijuana, medicinal cannabis in states where it is the only legal form are still quite pricey. In Ohio for example, your first two grams may cost you up to $50 and that’s after a $300 medical consultation required to get your card and a $50 activation fee. In Arizona the “startup” costs are similar, costing between $225 and $450 just to get certified.
Currently, insurance companies refuse to help cover costs for marijuana-related remedies. That means some patients who would benefit from medicinal cannabis may not even be able to afford because the cost is too steep. This is unacceptable. Study after study has proven that the medicinal benefits of marijuana for certain conditions are real and effective. Access to the drug has allowed millions to benefit from a natural, potent salve to ailments from which they suffer, but without full recognition and coverage from insurers, some of the people who need it most, won’t get a chance to benefit.
Kelly Tyko | USA TODAY | 11 hours ago 13-16 minutes
As of Saturday, the FDA’s “do-not-use list of dangerous hand sanitizer products” now includes 101 varieties of hand sanitizer that should be avoided – some that have already been recalled and other products being recommended for recalls – as they may contain methanol, a potentially fatal ingredient.
Methanol is a toxic substance when absorbed through skin or ingested.
“FDA continues to find issues with certain hand sanitizer products. FDA test results show certain hand sanitizers have concerningly low levels of ethyl alcohol or isopropyl alcohol, which are active ingredients in hand sanitizer products,” the federal agency said. “The agency urges consumers not to use these subpotent products and has expanded its list to include subpotent hand sanitizers, in addition to hand sanitizers that are or may be contaminated with methanol.”
In a warning July 27, the FDA says it is “urging consumers not to use any hand sanitizer products from the particular manufacturers on the list even if the product or particular lot number are not listed since some manufacturers are recalling only certain – but not all – of their hand sanitizer products.”
The agency says that in most cases, methanol does not appear on the product label but that it is “not an acceptable ingredient in any drug, including hand sanitizer, even if methanol is listed as an ingredient on the product label.”
The FDA said it has taken steps to prevent the products from entering the country by placing them on an import alert. Most of the products appear to have been produced in Mexico and, according to the alert, should be avoided because they pose a health risk.
“We remain extremely concerned about the potential serious risks of alcohol-based hand sanitizers containing methanol,” FDA Commissioner Stephen M. Hahn said in a statement. “Producing, importing and distributing toxic hand sanitizers poses a serious threat to the public and will not be tolerated.”
Methanol is used industrially as a solvent, pesticide and alternative fuel source, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Exposure to it can cause nausea, vomiting, headache, blurred vision, permanent blindness, seizures, coma, permanent damage to the nervous system and death.
The FDA says it has seen an increase in number of “adverse events, including blindness, cardiac effects, effects on the central nervous system, and hospitalizations and death, primarily reported to poison control centers and state departments of health.”
Avoid these hand sanitizers that may contain methanol
The FDA is advising consumers not to use the following hand sanitizers because tests found them to contain methanol or they were “purportedly made at the same facility as products in which FDA has tested and confirmed methanol contamination.” The FDA also says to avoid sanitizers from the manufacturers.
Find more information, including the product code where available, on the FDA website.
Eskbiochem’s All-Clean Hand Sanitizer
Eskbiochem’s Lavar 70 Gel Hand Sanitizer
Eskbiochem’s Esk Biochem Hand Sanitizer
Eskbiochem’s The Good Gel Antibacterial Gel Hand Sanitizer
Eskbiochem’s CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 75% Alcohol
Eskbiochem’s CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 80% Alcohol
Eskbiochem’s CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 80% Alcohol
Eskbiochem’s Saniderm Advanced Hand Sanitizer
Grupo Insoma’s Hand sanitizer Gel Unscented 70% Alcohol
Mystic International’s Mystic Shield Protection hand sanitizer
Cosmeticas’ Antiseptic Alcohol 70% Topical Solution hand sanitizer
Cosmeticas’ Bersih Hand Sanitizer Gel Fragrance Free
Tropicosmeticos’ Be Safe Hand Sanitizer
Tropicosmeticos’ Wave Hand Sanitizer Gel
Tropicosmeticos’ Cleaner Hand Sanitizer Rinse Free 70%
Tropicosmeticos’ Handzer Hand Sanitizer Rinse Free
Tropicosmeticos’ Urbane Bath and Body Hand Sanitizer
Tropicosmeticos’ Britz Hand Sanitizer Ethyl Alcohol 70%
Tropicosmeticos’ Parabola Hand Sanitizer
Tropicosmeticos’ Kleanz Antibacterial Hand Sanitizer Advanced
AAA Cosmetica’s bio aaa Advance Hand Sanitizer
AAA Cosmetica’s QualitaMed Hand Sanitizer
AAA Cosmetica’s LumiSkin Advance Hand Sanitizer 4 oz
AAA Cosmetica’s LumiSkin Advance Hand Sanitizer 16 oz
4E Global’s Blumen Advanced Instant Hand Sanitizer Clear Ethyl Alcohol 70%
4E Global’s Blumen Clear Advanced Hand Sanitizer with 70% Alcohol
4E Global’s BLUMEN Advanced Hand Sanitizer
4E Global’s BLUMEN Advanced Hand Sanitizer
4E Global’s BLUMEN Advanced Hand Sanitizer Aloe
4E Global’s Blumen Advanced Hand Sanitizer Aloe, with 70% alcohol
4E Global’s BLUMEN Advanced Hand Sanitizer Clear
4E Global’s Blumen Advanced Hand Sanitizer Lavender, with 70% alcohol
4E Global’s BLUMEN Advanced Instant Hand Sanitizer Clear
4E Global’s BLUMEN Advanced Instant Hand Sanitizer Clear
4E Global’s BLUMEN Advanced Instant Hand Sanitizer Lavender
4E Global’s BLUMEN Aloe Advanced Hand Sanitizer, with 70 Alcohol
4E Global’s BLUMEN Aloe Advanced Hand Sanitizer, with 70 Alcohol
4E Global’s Blumen Antibacterial Fresh Citrus Hand Sanitizer
4E Global’s BLUMEN Clear Advanced Hand Sanitizer
4E Global’s BLUMEN Clear Advanced Hand Sanitizer
4E Global’s BLUMEN Clear Advanced Instant Hand Sanitizer
4E Global’s BLUMEN Clear Advanced Instant Hand Sanitizer Aloe
4E Global’s BLUMEN Clear Advanced Instant Hand Sanitizer Lavender
4E Global’s BLUMEN Clear LEAR Advanced Hand Sanitizer
4E Global’s BLUMEN Clear LEAR Advanced Hand Sanitizer
4E Global’s Blumen Hand Sanitizer Fresh Citrus
4E Global’s BLUMEN Instant Hand Sanitizer Aloe Vera
4E Global’s BLUMEN Instant Hand Sanitizer Fragrance Free
4E Global’s Hello Kitty Hand Sanitizer
4E Global’s The Honeykeeper Hand Sanitizer
4E Global’s Assured Aloe
4E Global’s Assured Instant Hand Sanitizer (Aloe and Moisturizers)
4E Global’s Assured Instant Hand Sanitizer (Vitamin E and Aloe)
4E Global’s Assured Instant Hand Sanitizer Aloe and Moisturizers
4E Global’s Assured Instant Hand Sanitizer Vitamin E and Aloe
4E Global’s KLAR and DANVER Instant Hand Sanitizer
4E Global’s KLAR AND DANVER Instant Hand Sanitizer (labeled with Greenbrier International Inc.)
4E Global’s MODESA Instant Hand Sanitizer Moisturizers and Vitamin E
DDI Multinacional’s Earths Amenities Instant Unscented Hand Sanitizer with Aloe Vera Advanced
DDI Multinacional’s Hand Sanitizer Agavespa Skincare
DDI Multinacional’s Vidanos Easy Cleaning Rentals Hand Sanitizer Agavespa Skincare
Limpo Quimicos’ Andy’s
Limpo Quimicos’ Andy’s Best
Limpo Quimicos’ NeoNatural
Limpo Quimicos’ Plus Advanced
Liqesa Exportacion or Liq-E’s Optimus Lubricants Instant Hand Sanitizer
Maquiladora Miniara’s Selecto Hand Sanitizer
Maquiladora Miniara’s Shine and Clean Hand Sanitizer
Cosmeticas’ Hand Sanitizer Gel Alcohol 70%
Yara Elena De La Garza Perez Nieto’s DAESI Hand Sanitizer
Real Clean Distribuciones’ Cavalry
Real Clean Distribuciones’ ENLIVEN Hand Sanitizing Gel
Real Clean Distribuciones’ Lux Eoi Hand Sanitizing Gel
Real Clean Distribuciones’ Born Basic Anti-Bac Hand Sanitizer 65% Alcohol
Real Clean Distribuciones’ Born Basic Anti-Bac Hand Sanitizer 70% alcohol
Real Clean Distribuciones’ Scent Theory – Keep It Clean – Pure Clean Anti-bacterial Hand Sanitizer
Real Clean Distribuciones’ Scent Theory – Keep It Clean – Pure Clean Anti-bacterial Hand Sanitizer
MXL Comercial’s Hand Sanitizer Disinfectant Gel 70% Ethyl Alcohol
MXL Comercial’s Hand Sanitizer Disinfectant Gel 70% Ethyl Alcohol Rinse Free Hand Rub
Liqesa Exportacion or Liq-E’s Optimus Instant Hand Sanitizer
Liqesa Exportacion or Liq-E’s Optimus Instant Hand Sanitizer
Broncolin’s Herbacil Antiseptic Hand Sanitizer 70% Alcohol
Broncolin’s Herbacil Antiseptic Hand Sanitizer 70% Alcohol
Broncolin’s Herbacil Antiseptic Hand Sanitizer 70% Alcohol
Laboratorios Jaloma’s Jaloma Antiseptic Hand Sanitizer Ethyl Alcohol 62% with Vitamin E
Leiper’s Fork Distillery Bulk Disinfectant per 5 gallon
Saniderm Advanced Hand Sanitizer, 1-liter bottles: Two distributors. The UVT hand sanitizer is labeled with lot number 0530 and an expiration date of 04/2022 and the Saniderm Products hand sanitizer is labeled with lot number 53131626 and “Manufactured on April/1/20.”
Real Clean Distribuciones is voluntarily recalling all lots it manufactured within expiry of the following brand names of hand sanitizers: “Born Basic ANTI-BAC HAND SANITIZER, Scent Theory KEEP CLEAN Moisturizing Hand Sanitizer, Scent Theory KEEP IT CLEAN Moisturizing Hand Sanitizer and Lux Eoi Hand Sanitizing Gel to the consumer level.”
LIQ-E S.A. de C.V. is voluntarily recalling all lots and all bottle sizes of “The OPTIMUS Instant Hand Sanitizer” manufactured between April 27 and May 8.
Resource Recovery & Trading LLC is “voluntarily recalling all the lots manufactured by MXL Comercial S.A. de C.V.” with the following information: “Hand Sanitizer 70% Ethyl Alcohol Disinfectant Gel, packaged in 6.7 FL Oz. (200 ml) bottles, UPC 650240026020 and Hand Sanitizer Non-sterile Solution 70% Topical Solution, packaged in 20L (5.28 Gal) liter plastic containers, UPC 37710600013 to the consumer level.”
Broncolin is “voluntarily recalling all lots of Herbacil Antiseptic Hand Sanitizer 70% Alcohol to the consumer level.” The hand sanitizer comes in four different sizes, according to the recall notice.
Albek de Mexico is “voluntarily recalling all lots and all brands of hand sanitizer currently in US distribution to the consumer level.”
Follow USA TODAY reporter Kelly Tyko on Twitter: @KellyTyko
The VERIFY team breaks down some of the most asked questions about wearing face masks. Author: VERIFY, Jason Puckett (TEGNA), David Tregde Published: 11:26 AM EDT July 21, 2020
The VERIFY team is constantly getting questions from viewers about wearing face masks. Here are some of the most frequently asked.
DO MASKS WORK?
While there is still research being done to determine how effective masks are – experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Mayo Clinic and Johns Hopkins University all say that they serve an important purpose right now. null
The CDC explains that masks aren’t primarily meant to stop the virus from getting to you. They’re meant to stop you or other contagious people from spreading the virus to others.
COVID-19 typically spreads via respiratory droplets, Masks, even those made of cloth, are effective at catching those droplets as people expel them. Since COVID has been shown to be contagious before patients experience symptoms, experts say it’s important to wear a mask before you feel sick.
Do OSHA or other government groups warn against masks?
While some politicians debate the use of masks there are currently no government or medical groups that warn against wearing them.
Can wearing masks cause carbon dioxide poisoning or harm my oxygen levels?
One of the more popular claims against masks says they trap carbon dioxide and cause you to breathe it back in. According to the CDC, that claim is not true.
The CDC explains that carbon dioxide build-up is incredibly rare and only really a concern with sealed respirators and medical-grade devices.
The CDC explained: “Specific to the viral image, it is unlikely that wearing a mask will cause “anoxia,” “asphyxiation,” “hypercapnia,” or “hypercarbia.” While CO2 will slowly build up in the mask over time, any symptoms experienced with low levels of CO2 are resolved upon removal of the mask and breathing room air for a minute. null
Can I use the “Americans With Disabilities Act” to get out of wearing a mask?
Certain viral posts claim that you can cite ADA if you don’t want to wear a mask – there are even printable cards you can carry. But the Department of Justice says these aren’t real and don’t carry legal weight.
It’s also important to note that stores may not be able to force you to wear a mask, but they can legally refuse to serve you if you choose not to wear one.
The FDA is warning that the public should stop using 9 brands of hand sanitizer because the products may contain methanol, or wood alcohol. Author: TEGNA Published: 6:56 AM EDT June 23, 2020
WASHINGTON — The coronavirus pandemic has led to a surge in hand sanitizer purchases, but now the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued a warning that nine brands may be potentially toxic.
The FDA said Friday that consumers should stop using any hand sanitizer from Mexico-based manufacturer Eskbiochem SA de CV, due to the potential presence of methanol, or wood alcohol, in its products. The FDA warned that methanol can be toxic when ingested or absorbed through the skin. null
The agency said that it contacted Eskbiochem last week to recommend the company remove its hand sanitizer from the U.S. market, but it has yet to do so.
“Therefore, FDA recommends consumers stop using these hand sanitizers and dispose of them immediately in appropriate hazardous waste containers. Do not flush or pour these products down the drain,” the agency warned.
The FDA warned that young children who accidentally ingest these potentially toxic hand sanitizers and those who may drink it as an alcohol substitute are most at risk of suffering methanol poisoning. The symptoms of substantial methanol exposure includes nausea, vomiting, headache, blurred vision, permanent blindness, seizures, coma, permanent damage to the nervous system or death.
“Methanol is not an acceptable ingredient for hand sanitizers and should not be used due to its toxic effects,” the agency warned. “Consumers who have been exposed to hand sanitizer containing methanol should seek immediate treatment, which is critical for potential reversal of toxic effects of methanol poisoning.”
The FDA listed the following products in its warning:
– All-Clean Hand Sanitizer (NDC: 74589-002-01)
– Esk Biochem Hand Sanitizer (NDC: 74589-007-01)
– CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 75% Alcohol (NDC: 74589-008-04)
– Lavar 70 Gel Hand Sanitizer (NDC: 74589-006-01)
– The Good Gel Antibacterial Gel Hand Sanitizer (NDC: 74589-010-10) null
– CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 80% Alcohol (NDC: 74589-005-03)
– CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 75% Alcohol (NDC: 74589-009-01)
– CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 80% Alcohol (NDC: 74589-003-01)
– Saniderm Advanced Hand Sanitizer (NDC: 74589-001-01)
According to the FDA, it tested product samples and found Lavar Gel contained 81% methanol and CleanCare No Germ had 28% methanol.
The agency said Friday it’s not aware of any reports of illnesses related to these potentially toxic hand sanitizers.
An employee places facial masks in the bathroom of a suite of Berlin’s famous Hotel Adlon Kempinski on May 26, 2020, one day after it reopened for tourism as restrictions were eased amid the novel coronavirus / COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by Tobias SCHWARZ / AFP) (Photo by TOBIAS SCHWARZ/AFP via Getty Images) Photograph by Tobias Schwarz, AFP via Getty Images
Few people have the bladder fortitude to last through drinks, dinner, or long road trips without having to use the restroom. But as more restaurants, bars, and other public spaces start to re-open this summer, questions have been swirling around whether using a public toilet could become a more serious health risk in the era of COVID-19.
Such worries came to a head this week when researchers in China published a study suggesting that flushing a toilet can create a plume of coronavirus-laden particles, which are flung into the air by the watery vortex inside a toilet bowl.
Severalstudiesusing genetic tests have previously detected the SARS-CoV-2 virus in stool samples, and at least one investigation shows that the coronaviruses in these feces can be infectious. When a person infected with COVID-19 defecates, the germ at first settles into the toilet bowl. But then “the flushing process can lift the virus out of the toilet and cause cross-infection among people,” says Ji-Xiang Wang, a physicist at Yangzhou University in China and coauthor on the paper published June 16 in the journal Physics of Fluids.
While the toilet plume effect has been studied for decades in relation to other diseases, many questions remain over its role in spreading germs, including the one that causes COVID-19. Neither the World Health Organization nor the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention thinks it’s very likely COVID-19 can be spread by bowel movements leading to accidental consumption of virus particles, a route medically termed fecal-oral transmission.
Despite these uncertainties, experts say there are precautions you should take before answering nature’s call in publicly shared restrooms.
How risky are restrooms?
For the latest study, Wang’s team used computer models to show that tiny droplets called aerosols, created by the turbulence of water sloshing inside a toilet bowl, could be ejected up to three feet into the air. Shortly after flushing, water rushes into the bowl, striking the opposite side with enough force to generate a vortex that forcefully pushes not only the liquid, but also the air inside the toilet.
According to their simulations, this combination launches aerosols that can last in the air for just over a minute. The more water used in a toilet bowl, Wang’s team found, the greater the force of the flush.
So what does that mean if you use a restroom after someone infected with COVID-19 flushes? That depends a lot on whether the infectious virus survives in human feces, and that’s still an active area of research.
To start, studies of MERS, a coronavirus relative that flared up in 2012, indicate that this particular virus can survive in the human digestive tract, which is a sign the same might be true for SARS-CoV-2. Flu viruses and coronaviruses are considered “enveloped viruses” because they’re protected by a thin layer called a membrane. Unlike noroviruses, the most common culprit of food poisoning, enveloped viruses are easily degraded by acids, which make them vulnerable to the chemical make-ups of soap and stomach bile.
When cities were cesspools of disease
One hypothesis, based on influenza research, suggests that these kinds of viruses might survive in the human gut if mucus from infected patients protects the germs during their journey through the digestive tract. The question then is how long the virus lasts in fecal matter, and that’s another area that needs more research, says E. Susan Amirian, a molecular epidemiologist at Rice University in Houston.
“Fecal transmission is unlikely to be a major mode of transmission, even if it proves to be plausible,” Amirian says in an email. She notes that the CDC’s assessment of fecal-oral transmission cites one study in which scientists were able to detect only broken bits of the coronavirus’s genetic codein infected patients’ feces. These genetic snippets are an indicator the germ was once present in the body, but the virus has been degraded so much, it can no longer cause an infection.
What’s more, past studies show that fecal-oral transmission may have occurred during the 2002-2003 outbreak of SARS, another coronavirus cousin of COVID-19. Airborne fecal matter was thought to have exacerbated a cluster of 321 SARS cases at a Hong Kong apartment complex in 2003. Later examination of the incident found poor ventilation, contact with neighbors, and shared spaces such as elevators and stairwells also contributed to the event.
“Using a public restroom, especially while taking precautions like maintaining physical distance from others and practicing good hand hygiene, is quite likely to be less risky than attending a gathering with people from other households,” Amirian says via email. She emphasizes that “the major mode of transmission for COVID-19 is person-to-person through respiratory droplets.”
What can you do to protect yourself?
Still, “less risky” isn’t the same as no risk, and exactly how well the virus survives in feces, on surfaces, and in the air are questions scientists are still trying to answer.
“At the end of the day, we need to remember that stool can be a reservoir for many diseases, and people sometimes don’t wash their hands as well as they think they do,” says Amirian. “Good hygiene, especially thorough hand washing, is important for reasons beyond COVID-19.”
In public restrooms with multiple stalls that don’t limit the number of people allowed in, clusters of individuals represent an additional risk, as person-to-person contact is still the primary way people become infected with coronavirus.
Joe Allen is the director of Harvard’s Healthy Buildings Program, where he researches how our offices, schools, and homes can influence our health. In investigations of buildings that adversely impact human health, Allen says, “I always remind people to check the exhaust in the bathroom.” He adds that improving ventilation that moves dirty indoor air outside is one of the best ways to safeguard against a contaminated restroom.
“[Public] bathrooms should have exhaust fans that are constantly running,” Allen says.
If possible, he also recommends that establishments install touchless features such as water faucets, soap dispensers, and towel dispensers that turn on with the wave of a hand.
Absent more hygienic upgrades, Wang advises wearing a face mask when using a public restroom. And one of the most effective ways to keep potentially infected aerosols of any kind from flying into the air, Wang adds, is to simply install lids on public toilets.
“Manufacturers should design a new toilet, in which the lid is automatically put down before flushing,” says Wang.
More than 600 of the nation’s physicians sent a letter to President Trump this week calling the coronavirus shutdowns a “mass casualty incident” with “exponentially growing negative health consequences” to millions of non COVID patients.
“The downstream health effects…are being massively under-estimated and under-reported. This is an order of magnitude error,” according to the letter initiated by Simone Gold, M.D., an emergency medicine specialist in Los Angeles.
“Suicide hotline phone calls have increased 600%,” the letter said. Other silent casualties: “150,000 Americans per month who would have had new cancer detected through routine screening.”
From missed cancer diagnoses to untreated heart attacks and strokes to increased risks of suicides, “We are alarmed at what appears to be a lack of consideration for the future health of our patients.”
Patients fearful of visiting hospitals and doctors’ offices are dying because COVID-phobia is keeping them from seeking care. One patient died at home of a heart attack rather than go to an emergency room. The number of severe heart attacks being treated in nine U.S hospitals surveyed dropped by nearly 40% since March. Cardiologists are worried “a second wave of deaths” indirectly caused by the virus is likely.
The physicians’ letter focuses on the impact on Americans’ physical and mental health. “The millions of casualties of a continued shutdown will be hiding in plain sight, but they will be called alcoholism, homelessness, suicide, heart attack, stroke, or kidney failure. In youths it will be called financial instability, unemployment, despair, drug addiction, unplanned pregnancies, poverty, and abuse.
“It is impossible to overstate the short, medium, and long-term harm to people’s health with a continued shutdown,” the letter says. “Losing a job is one of life’s most stressful events, and the effect on a person’s health is not lessened because it also has happened to 30 million [now 38 million] other people. Keeping schools and universities closed is incalculably detrimental for children, teenagers, and young adults for decades to come.”
While all 50 states are relaxing lockdowns to some extent, some local officials are threatening to keep stay-at-home orders in place until August. Many schools and universities say they may remain closed for the remainder of 2020.
“Ending the lockdowns are not about Wall Street or disregard for people’s lives; it about saving lives,” said Dr. Marilyn Singleton, a California anesthesiologist and one of the signers of the letter. “We cannot let this disease change the U.S. from a free, energetic society to a society of broken souls dependent on government handouts.” She blogs about the huge damage the virus reaction is doing to the fabric of society.
Dr. Jane Orient, executive director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, also warns that restrictions are having a huge negative impact on non-COVID patients.
“Even patients who do get admitted to hospital, say for a heart problem, are prisoners. No one can be with them. Visitation at a rare single-story hospital was through closed outside window, talking via telephone,” she wrote us. “To get permission to go to the window you have to make an appointment (only one group of two per day!), put on a mask, get your temperature taken, and get a visitor’s badge of the proper color of the day.”
How many cases of COVID-19 are prevented by these practices? “Zero,” Dr. Orient says. But the “ loss of patient morale, loss of oversight of care, especially at night are incalculable.”
Virtually all hospitals halted “elective” procedures to make beds available for what was expected to be a flood of COVID-19 patients. Beds stayed empty, causing harm to patients and resulting in enormous financial distress to hospitals, especially those with limited reserves.
Even states like New York that have had tough lockdowns are starting to allow elective hospital procedures in some regions. But it’s more like turning up a dimmer switch. In Pennsylvania, the chair of the Geisinger Heart Institute, Dr. Alfred Casale, said the opening will be slow while the facility is reconfigured for COVID-19 social distancing and enhanced hygiene.
Will patients come back? COVID-phobia is deathly real.
Patients still are fearful about going to hospitals for heart attacks and even for broken bones and deep lacerations. Despite heroic efforts by physicians to deeply sanitize their offices, millions have cancelled appointments and are missing infusion therapies and even chemotherapy treatments. This deferred care is expected to lead to patients who are sicker when they do come in for care and more deaths from patients not receiving care for stroke, heart attacks, etc.
NPR reported about a Washington state resident who had what she described as the “worst headache of her life.”
She waited almost a week before going to the hospital where doctors discovered she had a brain bleed that had gone untreated. She had multiple strokes and died. “This is something that most of the time we’re able to prevent,” said her neurosurgeon, Dr. Abhineet Chowdhary, director of the Overlake Neuroscience Institute in Bellevue, Wash.
As the number of deaths from the virus begin to decline, we are likely to awaken to this new wave of casualties the 600 physicians are warning about. We should be listening to the doctors, and heed their advice immediately.
Celiac disease is an immune disorder that triggers severe gut reactions, including diarrhea and bloating, to foods containing gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye and barley. Now new research has linked an increase risk for celiac disease in young people to toxic chemicals commonly found in pesticides, nonstick cookware and fast food packaging, and fire retardants, among other sources.
Researchers analyzed levels of toxic chemicals in the blood of 30 children and young adults, ages 3 to 21, who were newly diagnosed with celiac disease at NYU Langone Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital. Test results were compared with those from 60 other young people of similar age, gender, and race.
The results of the scientific study revealed that children and young adults with high blood levels of pesticides, including high levels of pesticide-related chemicals called dichlorodiphenyldichlorethylenes (DDEs), were twice as likely to be newly diagnosed…
The MGM plan released Tuesday offered a first look at how Atlantic City casinos plan to operate to protect both employees and guests from the coronavirus.
The new rules include:
— Daily temperature checks for all employees, as well as screening measures to determine whether they have infection symptoms and where they are in contact with those who have been infected, such as someone in their household or someone they care for.
— Guests who think they may have been exposed will be “strongly encouraged” to stay at home and not travel.
— All employees must wear masks, and all guests will be encouraged to do so in public areas. The casino will hand out free masks to guests.
— Workers will be trained on proper cleaning procedures and other steps to protect against the virus.
— Employees who handle food, clean public areas and enter guest rooms must wear gloves. Other workers also may required to wear personal protective equipment.
— Guests still will be able to order beverages but not food on the casino floor, and can remove their masks to drink.
— Frequent cleaning and disinfecting of slot machines, tables and kiosks.
— Stations for handwashing and hand sanitizing in high-traffic areas.
— A six-foot social distancing policy will be followed whenever possible, with signs and floor guides to help separate patrons. In areas where the distancing policy cannot be followed, plexiglass barriers will be installed or employees will be given eye protection.
— Poker rooms may not reopen when the rest of the casino does, depending on guidance from state officials and medical experts.
— Plexiglass barriers throughout the casino and lobbies.
— Medical personnel on staff to respond in case a guest or employee tests positive for COVID-19. Exposed areas will be sanitized and efforts will be made for contact tracing, notifying those who may have been in contact with the individual.
— Limits on how many people can share an elevator cab.
— Allowing guests to check in to their hotel rooms digitally without having contact with anyone at the front desk.
— Digital menus and text notifications when tables are ready, eliminating the need to wait in line.
It remains to be seen if the steps are sufficient to win the approval of Unite Here, the union that represents 10,600 Atlantic City workers. Their plan called for having the state gaming commission ensure that the casinos were taking the necessary steps to protect employees and guests.
The union said that the six-foot distance between customers needed to be followed at slot machines and table games, dice and chips needed to be frequently sanitized, buffets needed to be suspended and spas and pools needed to close temporarily.
“It’s good that the company is talking about it, but we need them to work in partnership with frontline workers to come up with a full plan to protect guest and workers,” said Mayra Gonzalez, a line server at Borgata and a member of Unite Here.
Twenty thousand live bullfrogs from China that will be cooked and eaten as frog legs. Forty green monkeys from St. Kitts and Nevis for biomedical research. Three hundred giant clams from Vietnam and 30 stingrays from the Brazilian Amazon for home aquariums. null
That motley assortment is a miniscule glimpse of what the legal international wildlife trade might look like on a given day in any of the 41 ports of entry staffed by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service inspectors. I routinely saw consignments like these—alongside crates filled with shampoo bottles, cucumbers, and freshly cut roses—at the Port of Newark, New Jersey, when I was a wildlife inspector, from 2004 to 2010.
At airports, seaports, and land border crossings in 2019, $4.3 billion of legal wildlife and wildlife products was imported into the U.S. Approximately 200 million live animals are imported to the U.S. annually, according to a five-year trade report: 175 million fish for the aquarium trade, and 25 million animals comprised of an array of mammals, amphibians, birds, insects, reptiles, spiders, and more. On top of that, thousands of illegally traded shipments of wildlife are intercepted each year. In 2019 alone, the agency opened more than 10,000 illegal wildlife trade investigations.
The diseases that hitchhike into the country on legally imported wildlife continue to go largely unnoticed.
But along with such a diversity of wildlife, a kaleidoscope of pathogens is also entering the country. My experience with the Fish and Wildlife Service, where I worked for 10 years, first as a wildlife inspector and most recently as a policy specialist regulating and managing the international wildlife trade, showed me that although many controls have been implemented to combat illegal trade, the diseases that simultaneously hitchhike into the country on legally imported wildlife continue to go largely unnoticed.
Importing any live animal brings with it the risk of disease—to native wildlife, to livestock, and to people. The outbreak of the novel coronavirus in China, theorized to have jumped from bats into humans and then spread at a wet market in Wuhan, possibly through an intermediate host, has shined a spotlight on how easily zoonotic diseases can emerge from wildlife. Indeed, an estimated 60 percent of known human diseases originated in animals, according to the World Organization for Animal Health.
Much of the public discussion around COVID-19 has focused on the potential role of the illegal wildlife trade in spreading pathogens. But as a wildlife trade specialist and conservation biologist—I studied the spread of disease among imported frogs—I’ve learned that we need to think just as critically about the risks and vulnerabilities presented by the massive legal trade, which continues to place both ourselves and the world at risk of more pandemics. null
With few exceptions, the U.S. has no laws specifically requiring disease surveillance for wildlife entering the country, and the vast majority of wild animal imports are therefore not tested. Inspectors with the Fish and Wildlife Service are the first to set eyes on an imported shipment of animals, and they’re charged with enforcing a variety of national and international laws, regulations, and treaties that focus on preventing illegal and unsustainable trade. But its mandate doesn’t extend to monitoring animal or human health. Its only responsibilities related to disease are the enforcement of rules limiting trade in certain fish and salamander species, which have the potential to spread devastating disease to other animals of their kind.
In fact, no federal agency is tasked with the comprehensive screening and monitoring of imported wildlife for disease.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regulates the importation of wildlife and wildlife products known to “present a significant public health concern,” focusing primarily on bats, African rodents, and nonhuman primates, Jasmine Reed, a CDC spokesperson, wrote in an email. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) intervenes only if there’s a disease risk to poultry or livestock animals of agricultural importance.
This leaves millions of animals that come into the U.S legally each year unchecked for diseases that have the potential to spill over to humans or other animals. null
The CDC insists it’s keeping an eye out. “CDC works closely with other federal agencies to ensure animals and animal products that present a public health concern are regulated,” Reed says. “Through our partnerships with international agencies, we are constantly evaluating and assessing what we and the international public health community do to detect, prevent, and control zoonotic disease threats.”
“I’m confident that our authorities are doing the best they can with the resources they have,” says Catherine Machalaba, a policy advisor for EcoHealth Alliance, a nonprofit focused on the connections between human and wildlife health. “But I’m not confident that’s a good enough benchmark when we’re talking about leaving the door open [to potential diseases that are] a threat to our health and security.”
About two million American bullfrogs are imported live to the U.S. from factory farms abroad each year to be eaten. Legally imported frogs have been found to carry the devastating chytrid fungus at high rates, putting all North America’s amphibians at risk. With no government agency responsible for comprehensive pathogen screening and monitoring of imported wildlife, scientists have little understanding of the range of diseases being imported.Photograph by Jonathan E. Kolby
The problem isn’t unique to the U.S.—most countries do not have a government agency that comprehensively screens wildlife imports for pathogens. “The absence of any formal entity dedicated to preventing the spread of diseases from the wildlife trade is such a chronic gap around the world,” Machalaba says. “When multiple agencies have to be called in for any given shipment, personnel is limited, and coordination is lacking, there’s bound to be gaps—a false sense of security that another agency has it covered.”
Outbreaks from legal trade
Many recent zoonotic outbreaks affecting people sprang from trade that was allowed at the time, says Lee Skerratt, a wildlife biosecurity fellow at the University of Melbourne, in Australia. null
In 2003, for example, people in six U.S. states became ill from exposure to the monkeypox virus after it entered the country in a pet trade shipment of 800 rodents from Ghana. In that shipment, African giant pouched rats, rope squirrels, and dormice carried the virus. It spread to prairie dogs held in the same pet trade facility, which were then sold to the public, starting the animal-to-human outbreak. Luckily, although human-to-human transmission of monkeypox can occur, no cases were confirmed.
Three months after the infected animals had been imported, the CDC banned the import of all African rodents into the U.S. That gave the Fish and Wildlife Service the legal power to detain shipments in violation of the ban and alert the CDC, which could choose to require quarantine, re-exportation, or euthanization of the animals.
Although this outbreak led to an import ban on African rodents, the government stopped short of doing any risk assessments to consider whether rodents from other places might also carry diseases that would require regulation, Machalaba says.
“Wildlife coming into the U.S. are sourced from many countries that are ‘hot spots’ for emerging diseases—of potential concern for human health but also posing threats to other sectors via our food systems and ecosystems,” Malachaba says.
Warnings about shortcomings
Officials have long known about the gaps in the U.S.’s regulatory system. In 2005, the National Academies of Science published a report that found a “significant gap in preventing and rapidly detecting emergent diseases” from imported wildlife.
Five years later, the U.S. Government Accountability Office, which audits government spending and operations, published a report on live animal imports and diseases. It found that the Fish and Wildlife Service “generally does not restrict the entry of imported wildlife that may pose disease risks.” Furthermore, the report says, the CDC doesn’t use its full power to prevent the import of live animals that pose a risk of zoonotic diseases.
The 2010 report recommended that the CDC, the Fish and Wildlife Service, and USDA develop and implement a coordinated strategy to prevent the import of animals that may be carrying diseases. But a follow-up assessment in 2015 found that the agencies did not take action. There simply weren’t the economic or staffing resources to make it happen, it says. null
The ability to prevent and control emerging zoonotic diseases requires an understanding of the diversity and abundance of pathogens being imported. But without monitoring and surveillance of imported wildlife, we don’t have this information, Skerratt says. “This is a problem for the wildlife trade as there is much that we don’t know, especially for diseases that could affect other wildlife,” he says.
The CDC also acknowledges the lack of research. “We need more data through risk assessments and basic research before adding any new regulations,” Reed says.
But it’s a Catch-22: For an agency to systematically collect pathogen data from wildlife imports, it would need a legal mandate from the government. But the government is only likely to do that once it has pathogen data to guide its decisions.
Pathogens passed from animals to humans aren’t the only cause for concern. Amphibian chytrid fungus, the aquatic fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, is the first disease known to infect hundreds of species simultaneously and drive many of them toward extinction. It’s so dangerous because it can jump between nearly any amphibian—a class with more than 8,000 species. It has already spread to remote protected areas around the world. From my Ph.D. research, I discovered that imports of factory-farmed American bullfrogs—nearly 2.5 million a year, more than any other live amphibian species—introduce frighteningly high numbers of chytrid-infected animals into the U.S.
The deadly amphibian chytrid fungus, introduced to the U.S. through the legal wildlife trade, has spread to native frog species across North America, even in protected areas like King’s Canyon National Park, in California. The U.S. continues to allow the import of species known to carry the disease. Photograph by JOEL SARTORE, Nat Geo Image Collection
Humans have never been part of a pandemic on the scale of that now affecting amphibians. Even tragedies such as the Black Death, in the mid-1300s, and the 1918 influenza pandemic devastated only one species of mammal: humans. By contrast, emerging wildlife diseases, notably chytrid, have been much less picky in the diversity and numbers of animal hosts they infect and kill. Imagine what it would be like if the next pandemic could infect hundreds of the world’s 5,000 species of mammals—including humans—causing many to become extinct.
The best way to minimize risk
An enormous variety of plants and animals are involved in the international wildlife trade, and many are a regular part of our daily lives: Imported seafood for dinner; timber for building homes and musical instruments; pet birds and frogs and aquarium fishes; mother-of-pearl buttons on dress shirts; medicinal plants like ginseng; cosmetic essential oils such as argan and frankincense; and even many of the orchids and cacti for home decoration. This is why ending the legal trade in wildlife seems unlikely, and why, Skerratt says, controlling disease at the source is the best way to minimize the risk to public health.
There seems to be a lack of economic incentive to create a wildlife health law in the U.S. to regulate the pathways of spread of wildlife pathogens.
Priya Nanjappa, Director of Operations, Conservation Science Partners, Inc.
Key to reducing the spread of pathogens is a “clean trade” program, in which private industry and government officials work together to implement safer strategies, according to Matthew Gray, associate director of the University of Tennessee Center for Wildlife Health, in Knoxville.
Gray says that clean trade could involve testing either before transport or at the border, so that animal health certificates could accompany wildlife—similar to what’s required for livestock. “If clean trade is not economically sustainable, government subsidies could be provided, as done often with agriculture,” he says.
It shouldn’t be too difficult to develop a program in the U.S. to monitor imported wildlife for pathogens and develop risk assessments, says Peter Jenkins, senior counsel for Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, an environmental nonprofit. “We have a very good model of this, and it’s the U.S. livestock trade.” The USDA’s Animal Plant and Health Service implements a comprehensive system of veterinary services and trade controlsto reduce the risk of importing pathogens that can harm animals, including cattle, sheep, poultry and others.
Jenkins estimates such a program could be implemented for a reasonable cost, with just $2 million and six full-time government employees, a figure developed with Congressional staff in 2015 when Jenkins was lobbying to expand the Fish and Wildlife Service’s “injurious wildlife” program. “We’re not talking about a Cadillac program. We just need people doing the research, making risk-based predictions, and then operationalizing those predictions to reduce risk.”
Yet it hasn’t happened.
“There seems to be a lack of economic incentive to create a wildlife health law in the U.S. to regulate the pathways of spread of wildlife pathogens, but the COVID-19 disease highlights the consequences of our lack of understanding of these pathogens,” says Priya Nanjappa, director of operations at Conservation Science Partners, Inc., a nonprofit that provides research and analysis for conservation projects.
The lack of incentive, Najappa says, seems to stem from the false belief that if an imported disease doesn’t immediately threaten public health or agricultural animals, it’s not a major threat to economic interests. But take white-nose syndrome, a fungus that has decimated millions of bats, across several species, in the U.S. Some of these bat population crashes led to Endangered Species Act protections, which in turn place restrictions on economic activities such as logging within the species’ habitats.
The CDC, Fish and Wildlife Service, and USDA did not comment on what kinds of resources the agencies would need to do additional risk assessments, implement monitoring for diseases in the wildlife trade, or whether the pandemic would prompt them to push for increased disease surveillance.
With COVID-19 aiming a spotlight on long-existing deficiencies, now is the time for the best minds in the Fish and Wildlife Service, CDC, USDA, industry and academia to come together and consider what steps can be taken to sew this hole shut, before the next animal-origin pandemic is thrust into our daily lives.
Wildlife Watch is an investigative reporting project between National Geographic Society and National Geographic Partners focusing on wildlife crime and exploitation. Read more Wildlife Watch stories here, and learn more about National Geographic Society’s nonprofit mission at nationalgeographic.org. Send tips, feedback, and story ideas to email@example.com.
As those who help shape public mindset about disabilities, journalists must do better to represent and respect this population.
Tell the Society of Professional Journalism (SPJ) to create a guide for journalists writing about disability.
The way the media portrays disabilities can have a profound effect on the way the rest of the world views them, as many people do not have firsthand experience with them — after all, only about 12.6 percent of the U.S. population has some sort of disability  — so the general public must derive their opinions from what they read or hear. That is why journalists need to write about disabled people in the way they want to be portrayed.
Oftentimes, however, the worldwide media is not terribly good at this. Though journalists have certainly improved at covering stories about disability,  they sometimes still fall short of writing about it in a way that is respectful, neutral (rather than negative), and humanizing.
For example, people with disabilities who are able to speak for themselves deserve to have their voices heard, but oftentimes their words are treated as an afterthought, if even included at all. News stories often focus on how the parents or caregivers, rather than the individuals themselves, are affected by the disability.
People with disabilities also deserve to be treated like human beings, but the media often treats them more like pets or objects — things that should be treated with love and care but don’t really have their own thoughts, feelings, or autonomy. They are infantilized, treated like burdens on families and societies,  and portrayed as pitiable creatures that deserve praise for doing average, everyday things (such as graduating from school or holding down a job). They are often characterized by their deficits, which sometimes can be very personal and private (i.e. inability to use the toilet).
Even in cases of filicide, journalists often get things backwards and sympathize with the parents “who killed their child out of ‘mercy‘” or “snapped under the immense burden of caregiving.” 
When people read these stories, they may begin to internalize these negative messages and form the subconscious opinion that those with disabilities are sub-human and less worthy of life than “normal” people.
We simply cannot let this happen.
The Society of Professional Journalism (SPJ) is an organization that, in part, strives “to stimulate high standards and ethical behavior in the practice of journalism.”  As part of that, they have a Code of Ethics that gives guidance to journalists. We believe that this organization should include guidelines on writing ethically about disability. Doing this may lead more journalists to cover it the way they should: with respect.
We believe that the press has immense power in our society. The simple act of stringing together words to form a story can do an incredible amount of good in our world but it also has the potential to do just the opposite.
For too long now, journalism has been unintentionally harming some of the most overlooked individuals in our society: those with disabilities. Through subtle word choices and overarching tone, people with disabilities have been portrayed as burdens, sets of deficits, and objects of pity or inspiration for doing nothing out of the ordinary (called “inspiration porn”).To Top
Following in the spirit of Britain's Queen Boudica, Queen of the Iceni. A boudica.us site. I am an opinionator, do your own research, verification. Reposts, reblogs do not neccessarily reflect our views.