Tag Archives | Disease

Study Pinpoints JFK, LAX, Hawaii Airports As Disease-Spread Hot Spots

In today’s globally interconnected world, terrifying illnesses from across the sea are just a flight away. These are the airports connecting us to them, via Scientific American:

A new study finds that [JFK and LAX], along with Honolulu International Airport, are the most likely to facilitate the spread of a major pandemic.

Researchers at M.I.T. used real traveler patterns, geographical information and airport waiting times to predict what U.S. airports are most likely to spread an epidemic from its origin.

The surprise is that the key airports are not necessarily the largest or busiest. Previous research had focused on how easily pandemics can spread globally via air travel once they were in late stages. In those cases, the largest and best-connected airports are indeed the deadliest hubs. But the new work shows that in the first 10 days of an epidemic, other travel centers might be the spreading hot spots.

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Warmer Weather May Lead to Uptick in Rabies Cases

Wired.com is calling it the “summer of hate”: An increase in rabies cases may (or may not) be linked to the heatwave enveloping much of the nation:

…health officials also point to 2012’s particularly mild winter. Higher-than-average temperatures likely led common rabies vectors like raccoons and skunks, normally dormant during the cold months, to become more active — which would thereby increase the opportunity for contact between infected and uninfected animals, both within and among species.

Double-check your zombie apocalypse survival kit and read more at wired.comRead the rest

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Lack Of Exercise Kills Roughly As Many As Smoking

Get on your bikes, disinfonauts. From the Los Angeles Times:

People across the world are falling so far short on exercise that the problem has become a global pandemic, causing nearly a tenth of deaths worldwide and killing roughly as many people as smoking, researchers warned this week as an alarming series of studies was published in the Lancet.

Eight out of 10 youngsters age 13 to 15 don’t get enough exercise, according to one of the Lancet studies released Tuesday, and nearly a third of adults fall short. The problem is even worse for girls and women, who are less active than boys and men, researchers found.

The results are fatal. Lack of exercise is tied to worldwide killers such as heart disease, diabetes and breast and colon cancer. If just a quarter of inactive adults got enough exercise, more than 1.3 million deaths could be prevented worldwide annually, researchers said.

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Lightning & Disease: A Primitive Thought System Overturned

For most of human history, life has been a struggle – a struggle against predators, against disease, against natural disasters, and against our fellow human beings as we find ourselves all thrown together on a single planet, vying for limited resources.  In the words of the philosopher Thomas Hobbes, life for the many has been “nasty, brutish, and short.”

Foremost among our ongoing challenges, however, and rising above all the others, is the struggle against our own ignorance.  Like newborn infants, naked and helpless, humans have been thrust into this world without the benefit of any instruction book to show us the way.  It is only through patience and ingenuity (and a fair amount of dumb luck) that we have managed to rise above our brute animal nature to occasionally achieve something resembling peace and civility.  Obviously, we still have a long way to go, but if we as a species hope to continue our stumbling progress towards a happier, healthier future, we must acknowledge the various pitfalls and dead ends we’ve encountered along the route, starting with those of the distant past.… Read the rest

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Florida Accused Of Keeping Tuberculosis Outbreak Secret

All signs point to Florida being the most likely ground zero for a future zombie apocalypse. The Palm Beach Post reports:

The CDC officer had a serious warning for Florida health officials in April: A tuberculosis outbreak in Jacksonville was one of the worst his group had investigated in 20 years.

As health officials in Tallahassee turned their focus to restructuring, Dr. Robert Luo’s 25-page report describing Jacksonville’s outbreak — and the measures needed to contain it – went unseen by key decision makers around the state.

That report had been penned on April 5, exactly nine days after Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed the bill that shrank the Department of Health and required the closure of the A.G. Holley State Hospital in Lantana, where tough tuberculosis cases have been treated for more than 60 years.

Had they seen the letter, decision makers would have learned that 3,000 people in the past two years may have had close contact with contagious people at Jacksonville’s homeless shelters, an outpatient mental health clinic and area jails.

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Monsanto’s Legacy of Toxicity, Corruption and Scandalous Dealings

MEDIA ROOTS — Seeds are at the very core of the public commons as the first link in an essential food chain.  Throughout the 20th century, the agricultural biotech giant Monsanto perverted intellectual property laws to corner the world’s seed supply.

By allowing the food supply to be attached to the bottom line of a corporation, the world places its future in the hands of a corrupt few. Abby Martin explores the multinational corporation’s sordid past of corruption and toxicity and their current scandalous dealings for RT.

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Plague: Oregon Man Contracts Yersinia Pestis Bacteria, Cause of the Black Death

Now those damned Ren-Fair kids have taken things too far. Writes Timothy Stenovec at the Huffington Post:

An Oregon man is in critical condition after being infected with the plague, the Oregonian reports.

The man was bitten by a cat on Saturday, June 2, while trying to remove a dead mouse from the feline’s mouth, according to the Crook County Department of Public Health and the Oregonian. The man checked himself into a hospital the following Friday.

The Oregon Department of Public Health confirmed on Thursday that the unidentified man, who’s in his 50s, has tested positive for Yersinia pestis, the same bacteria that was responsible for the pandemic that decimated Europe’s population in the 14th century.

The cat, which was a stray that had lived in the neighborhood for a number of years, has since died. Its body has been sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for testing…

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CDC: ‘Does Not Know of a Virus or Condition That Would Reanimate the Dead’

Kim LaCapria writes on the Inquisitr:

Okay, if you hadn’t felt the last few days were just like the beginning of a zombie apocalypse movie, then perhaps the CDC coming out and saying everybody stay calm, there is no zombie apocalypse will perk your ears up.

Seriously, is there anything that says “we have zombies” more than the CDC denying we have zombies? The web chatter started in earnest last weekend, when a gruesome story out of Florida went viral, in which an apparently psychotic man attacked another, chewing the second’s face for nearly twenty minutes before police were forced to fire off a full clip at the assailant, eventually killing him.

(It was reported that the attacker carried on chewing his victim’s flesh after having been shot, which is a behavior many associate with zombie tropes on TV and in film.) But it wasn’t just the Florida face-chewing incident that got web searchers buzzing.

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The Hidden Epidemic Of Tapeworms Living Inside People’s Brains

k8263-5iA real-life invasion of the body snatchers scenario — tapeworms in your brain are the worst, basically. Via Discovery:

Some fall into comas. Some are paralyzed down one side of their body. Others can’t walk a straight line. Still others come to Nash partially blind, or lose the ability to speak; many fall into violent seizures.

Underneath this panoply of symptoms is the same cause, captured in the MRI scans that Nash takes of his patients’ brains. Each brain contains one or more whitish blobs. You might guess that these are tumors. But Nash knows the blobs are not made of the patient’s own cells. They are tapeworms. Aliens.

“Nobody knows exactly how many people there are with it in the United States,” says Nash, who is the chief of the Gastrointestinal Parasites Section at NIH. His best estimate is 1,500 to 2,000. Worldwide, the numbers are vastly higher.

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I’m Back: First Case of Mad Cow in the U.S. in Six Years

BullReports Elizabeth Campbell in the Washington Post:

The first time mad cow disease appeared in the U.S., beef exports plunged 82 percent. More than six years later, the discovery of an infected dairy cow in California may do little to prevent shipments from surging to a record for a second straight year.

U.S. beef sales to buyers including Mexico, China and Japan will jump 6 percent to 1.34 million metric tons in 2012, exceeding last year’s record, which the government valued at $4.7 billion, said Global AgriTrends, a Denver-based researcher that advises meat companies, investment banks and hedge funds. The company affirmed its forecast after the U.S. reported its fourth case of mad cow since 2003 and first since 2006.

Detection of the tainted carcass before it entered the human food chain should bolster confidence that U.S. meat is safe, the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization said yesterday, as cattle prices rebounded in Chicago.

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