September 26, 2012 |
There's a terrible irony lurking in the recent news of the hantavirus outbreak at Yosemite National Park, which has killed three visitors and sickened half a dozen more since mid-June. Part of the backdrop of the 1864 act that established Yosemite as essentially the nation's first national park (that language would not be used until 1872 in the founding of Yellowstone National Park) had everything to do with health and healing in the latter years of the Civil War. We'd do well to note that from today's vantage of being in the middle of the sesquicentennial years of the war. You might not connect Yosemite to the Civil War. But Frederick Law Olmsted, co-creator of Central Park, certainly did. Eyewitness to the horrific destruction wrought by the war when he served as general secretary of the United States Sanitary Commission, a Red Cross-like operation for the North, Olmsted despaired as the nation became, in his memorable phrasing, a "republic of suffering.
August 18, 2012 |
HOUSTON -- Planes equipped to battle the West Nile outbreak in Texas have been grounded by rain, delaying the aerial application of pesticide targeting the deadly virus that has prompted a state of emergency in Dallas County, officials said. So far, Dallas County has reported 242 West Nile infections and 10 deaths, making it the epicenter of a statewide surge in infections. Texas has reported 552 cases and 21 deaths, by far the highest tally nationwide, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
January 5, 2012 |
A tragedy 1,300 miles away changed a way of life in this Central California farm town that proudly calls itself the Cantaloupe Center of the World. This would normally be the season when farmers plan the summer crop that in good years is valued at nearly $200 million, according to the California Cantaloupe Advisory Board. Instead, they are cutting acreage devoted to the fruit and scrambling for ways to reassure a nervous public that cantaloupes are safe to eat. In the fall, the deadliest food-borne illness outbreak in the United States since 1924 was traced to listeria-tainted cantaloupe in Colorado.
June 3, 2011 |
Before a couple of days ago, you probably never gave much thought to Spanish cucumbers or German lettuce. But news about a deadly — and perhaps never-before-seen — strain of E. coli that has hit Europe is rattling nerves in this part of the world. American consumers have already shown a willingness to avoid foods that are even rumored to be contaminated with bacteria. The salmonella-tomato scare in 2008, the E. coli-tainted spinach in 2006 .... Consumers might well wonder whether we're due for another outbreak and, for that matter, whether raw produce can even be considered safe.
June 3, 2011 |
A deadly outbreak of food-borne illness in Europe is being caused by an unusually virulent strain of E. coli that scientists haven't seen before and that may be dramatically more dangerous, global health officials said Thursday. The new strain has killed at least 17 people in Germany and Sweden and sickened 1,614 in 10 countries in Europe, the World Health Organization said. Unlike typical forms of the bacterium, which can cause severe diarrhea, this strain in many cases is resulting in a more severe reaction known as hemolytic uremic syndrome , or HUS. The syndrome occurs when toxins released by the bacteria destroy blood cells, which then clog the kidneys, leading to kidney failure.
June 2, 2011 |
Germany scrambled Wednesday to pinpoint the source of a deadly outbreak of food-borne bacterial infections that has killed at least 16 people, sickened hundreds more and sparked a diplomatic squabble with Spain. The mass outbreak of E. coli infections is the worst of its kind in recent memory in Germany. Since the beginning of May, more than 1,000 residents have fallen ill from contaminated food, including 470 suffering from a more virulent and potentially life-threatening reaction known as hemolytic uremic syndrome, which can cause kidney failure, strokes and seizures.