Category Archives: environment

Avian Flu Diary: Nature: Bat Influenza Receptors In Other Mammals (Including Humans) Bats flourish and overpopulate when humans overproduce fruits that bats feed on! Game on! and who knows when we strike out!

#13,894 Exactly 7 years ago today ( Feb 27, 2012 ) we looked at an announcement from scientists from the U.S. CDC and the Universid…

Source: Avian Flu Diary: Nature: Bat Influenza Receptors In Other Mammals (Including Humans)

MSF suspends work at Katwa Ebola center as WHO seeks more support | CIDRAP

Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said today that it has suspended all activities at the Ebola treatment center in Katwa, following a violent attack over the weekend, severely limiting access to care in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC’s) main hot spot.

Source: MSF suspends work at Katwa Ebola center as WHO seeks more support | CIDRAP

What the pesticides in our urine tell us about organic food | Kendra Klein and Anna Lappé | Opinion | The Guardian

Of the 14 chemicals tested, every single member of every family had detectable levels. After switching to an organic diet, these levels dropped dramatically. Levels across all pesticides dropped by more than half on average. Detectable levels for the pesticide malathion, a probable human carcinogen according to the World Health Organization, decreased a dramatic 95% . Malathion was just one of the pesticides found in this study that are part of a group called organophosphates, which have long concerned public health experts because of their impact on children’s developing brains. Created as nerve agents in World War II, organophosphates have been linked to increased rates of autism, learning disabilities, and reduced IQ in children. The organophosphate chlorpyrifos, found in all of the family members, is so worrisome to public health that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) planned to ban it in 2017 – a proposal dropped by the Trump administration. In the wake of inaction from the administration, Hawaii passed the first state level chlorpyrifos ban in 2018; and Representative Nydia Velázquez introduced a federal bill to ban it.

Source: What the pesticides in our urine tell us about organic food | Kendra Klein and Anna Lappé | Opinion | The Guardian

Top Leader at Interior Dept. Pushes a Policy Favoring His Former Client – The New York Times

As a lobbyist and lawyer, David Bernhardt fought for years on behalf of a group of California farmers to weaken Endangered Species Act protections for a finger-size fish, the delta smelt, to gain access to irrigation water. As a top official since 2017 at the Interior Department, Mr. Bernhardt has been finishing the job: He is working to strip away the rules the farmers had hired him to oppose.

Plummeting insect numbers ‘threaten collapse of nature’ | Environment | The Guardian

“The main cause of the decline is agricultural intensification,” Sánchez-Bayo said. “That means the elimination of all trees and shrubs that normally surround the fields, so there are plain, bare fields that are treated with synthetic fertilisers and pesticides.” He said the demise of insects appears to have started at the dawn of the 20th century, accelerated during the 1950s and 1960s and reached “alarming proportions” over the last two decades. Advertisement He thinks new classes of insecticides introduced in the last 20 years, including neonicotinoids and fipronil, have been particularly damaging as they are used routinely and persist in the environment: “They sterilise the soil, killing all the grubs.” This has effects even in nature reserves nearby; the 75% insect losses recorded in Germany were in protected areas.

Source: Plummeting insect numbers ‘threaten collapse of nature’ | Environment | The Guardian

Genes linked to antibiotic-resistant superbugs found in Arctic | Society | The Guardian – Holy Crap!

Antibiotic resistance threatens a global “apocalypse”, England’s chief medical officer, Dame Sally Davies, has warned, and last week the health secretary, Matt Hancock, called it a bigger threat than climate change or warfare. Common operations could become life-threatening and rapidly spreading and evolving diseases could overcome our last medical defences, reversing nearly a century of remarkable progress in human health.

Source: Genes linked to antibiotic-resistant superbugs found in Arctic | Society | The Guardian

Avian Flu Diary: Emerg. Microbe & Inf: MERS Infection In Non-Camelid Domestic Mammals

It took roughly a year after the first human infection with MERS-CoV was announced out of Saudi Arabia for dromedary camels to be identified as a host species for the MERS coronavirus (see 2013’s The Lancet Camels Found With Antibodies To MERS-CoV-Like Virus). While bats are believed to be the primary host reservoir for MERS, SARS, and an array of other novel pathogens (see Curr. Opinion Virology: Viruses In Bats & Potential Spillover To Animals And Humans), the hunt continues for other susceptible species where these viruses may reside.

Source: Avian Flu Diary: Emerg. Microbe & Inf: MERS Infection In Non-Camelid Domestic Mammals

NH: There had been a significant increase in date tree cultivation in Saudi Arabia to serve increased worldwide demand for dates. That increase led naturally to an increase in the bat population and the possibilities of a new variant of disease to be passed on to animals and humans.

Alaska Hunter Who Killed Cubs in Bear Den Gets 3 Months in Jail – The New York Times

Based on the camera footage, which was summarized by prosecutors in a news release, Andrew Renner and his son approached the den on Esther Island, in Prince William Sound, on April 14. Owen Renner fatally shot the sleeping mother bear with a rifle, prosecutors said, causing the cubs to start shrieking inside the den. Andrew Renner then fatally shot the cubs. Prosecutors said the recovered video footage showed the Renners butchering the mother bear and taking the remains away in bags. Two days later, the camera caught them returning to the area to collect the bullet shells and dispose of the bear cubs’ bodies, according to a report from Alaska’s Department of Public Safety.

Flu science points to another culprit when vaccines fail — us

The idea is that the first flu viruses your immune system encounters make indelible marks on it. A person born in 1970 whose first influenza A infection was caused by an H3N2 virus will always mount a better immune response to H3N2 viruses — or that component of the vaccine — than she will to an H1N1 virus or vaccine. But a person born in 1949, when H1N1 was the only influenza A virus circulating, will likely always have an underwhelming response to the H3N2 component of the flu shot. The phenomenon is called “original antigenic sin” in the influenza literature. It’s also known as “imprinting.”

Source: Flu science points to another culprit when vaccines fail — us