Tag Archive: WHO

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New bird flu outbreak: More than 60 farms in France infected

© Luc Gnago
New cases of highly pathogenic avian flu in poultry have recently been detected in south-western regions of France, forcing authorities to step up sanitary measures.

The total number of confirmed cases of contamination with the virus in France has risen to 61, according to a statement from the French Ministry of Agriculture. The statement was published on Tuesday.



🔴GRIPPE AVIAIRE 8 nouveaux foyers identifiés dans les Landes. 61 foyers désormais touchés dans le sud-ouest


Special protection zones stretching for between 3 to 10 kilometers around the farms have been set up until the epidemic ceases, a decree published in the Official Journal said.

There is currently no evidence that the virus is transmitted to humans through birds’ eggs, meat or foie gras, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the European Centre for Disease and Control (ECDC) stated.


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PressTV News Videos PRESS TV

Mon Dec 7, 2015 7:18PM
A digital rendering of the H1N1 virus
A digital rendering of the H1N1 virus

At least 33 people have lost their lives following an outbreak of swine flu mainly in two southeastern Iranian provinces in the past three weeks, Iran’s deputy health minister says.

Ali Akbar Sayyari said on Monday that the flu left 28 people dead in Kerman Province and five, including four pregnant women, in Sistan and Baluchestan.

He added that there are more cases of infection across the country.


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Swine flu outbreak nears Tehran as Iran death toll tops 40

The World Health Organisation declared the swine flu pandemic over in August 2010


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The World Health Organisation declared the swine flu pandemic over in August 2010 (AFP Photo/Sam Panthaky)

Tehran (AFP) – An outbreak of swine flu in Iran has claimed 42 lives since mid-November, including in a province neighbouring Tehran, Health Minister Hassan Hashemi said Thursday.

Hashemi, quoted by ISNA news agency, said 33 deaths from the H1N1 virus were recorded in Kerman and five in Sistan-Baluchistan, both provinces in southeastern Iran.

The other four deaths were in three northern provinces, including one in Karaj, near the capital, he said in an update recording nine new fatalities since Monday.

Hashemi has said the number of deaths from flu was similar to previous years, but that it was becoming harder to treat.

“This flu comes from beyond our borders, especially from Sistan-Baluchistan” near Pakistan, the minister said Monday. “But every year it becomes wilder and more resistant” to treatment.


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The Guardian Nigeria

Iran swine flu outbreak kills 33 in three weeks: state media

  • By AFP on December 7, 2015 5:32 pm

pigAn outbreak of swine flu has left 33 people dead in two provinces of southwestern Iran in the last three weeks, the official IRNA news agency reported on Monday.

IRNA quoted Deputy Health Minister Ali Akbar Sayyari as saying there had been 28 deaths in Kerman province and five in Sistan-Baluchistan and warning the H1N1 virus was likely to spread to other areas including the capital Tehran.

“The health ministry predicts that the virus will spread in the coming days to Tehran, West and East Azerbaijan and Kermanshah provinces more than to other places,” he said.


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An outbreak of swine flu has left 33 people dead in two provinces of southwestern Iran in the last three weeks, the official IRNA news agency reported on Monday. IRNA quoted Deputy Health Minister Ali Akbar Sayyari as saying there had been 28 deaths in Kerman province and five in Sistan-Baluchistan and warning the H1N1 virus was likely to spread to other areas including the capital Tehran. “The health ministry predicts that the virus will spread in the coming days to Tehran, West and East Azerbaijan and Kermanshah provinces more than to other places,” he said. Nearly 600 people have been hospitalised in Kerman province over the outbreak, the head of the province’s medical university, Ali Akbar Haghdoost, told the ISNA news agency. “Traces of the H1N1 virus were uncovered three weeks ago and we were the first province to report the epidemic,” Haghdoost said. He called for limited travel during a three-day holiday weekend due to start on Thursday in order to prevent the spread of the virus. A major H1N1 outbreak in 2009 sparked a World Health Organization pandemic alert in June 2009, after the virus emerged from Mexico and the United States. The alert was lifted in August 2010 and the outbreak left some 18,500 people dead in 214 countries.


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Biological Hazard in Sudan on December 07 2015 08:57 AM (UTC).

Between 29 Aug-27 Nov [2015], 469 suspected cases of viral haemorrhagic fever (VHF), including 120 deaths, were reported in the 5 Darfur states, according to the Sudanese Ministry of Health. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Sudan reported in its latest weekly bulletin that the outbreak has now spread to 27 localities in Sudan’s conflict-torn western region. The highest number of reported cases is in West Darfur (296) followed by North Darfur (68) Central Darfur (68), South Darfur (23), and East Darfur (14). The highest number of fatalities was recorded in West Darfur (90), followed by North Darfur (15), Central Darfur (12), East Darfur (2) and South Darfur (one). The World Health Organisation (WHO) has supported vector control activities with larvicide interventions, reaching 6268 families (40 800 people) in Ed Daein, capital of East Darfur, in the South Darfur localities of Tullus, Kass, Ed El Fursan, Buram, and El Sereif Beni Hussein in North Darfur. A further 30 000 families (195 000 people) in South Darfur’s Tullus town and the Kass camps for the displaced were reached with integrated vector control activities conducted jointly by the Ministry of Health and the WHO. These activities are now ongoing in Buram, Ed Fursan and Nyala localities in the state. In addition, the WHO supported larvicide fogging and spraying assistance to more than 1300 families (8500 people) in El Sereif town, North Darfur.

In North Darfur, Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) Spain and the WHO support a treatment centre in El Sereif locality. MSF Switzerland is supports a treatment centre and 2 mobile clinics in the West Darfur Krendig and Kereinik camps for the displaced in Kereinik locality. The UN Children’s Agency (Unicef) supported the Ministry of Health in West Darfur to reach 385 700 people on viral haemorrhagic fever prevention through local radio programmes. It supported national NGOs to conduct health education sessions in El Geneina and Kereinik localities. Unicef has also supported health promotion activities in Zalingei, Azum, Bindisi, West Jebel Marra and Wadi Salih localities of Central Darfur. Haemorrhagic fevers are endemic in many states of Sudan including Red Sea, Kassala, Gedaref, and South Kordofan, OCHA states. In 2012, sporadic cases of dengue fever and yellow fever co-infection were reported in Darfur, while no cases were reported in 2013. In 2014, however, a large-scale dengue fever outbreak occurred in Red Sea (1092 cases), North Darfur (132), South Darfur (48), West Darfur (24), South Kordofan (59), and Kassala (57).




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By  -Paul A Philips


In the USA alone it has been estimated that at least 210,000 patients died from medical mistakes in a year making this the third leading cause of death while heart disease is the first and cancer comes second. 

Can the above figure be used to expose the corruption in medicine? 

The reason why it has taken so long to realise that something is not right and why so many still don’t see that anything is going on can be explained like this: 

On the whole, people: healthcare workers or patients or the public at large, can regard many circumstances in medicine as isolated cause and effect relationships. In other words, people generally fail to make the connections between the different cause and effect relationships. 

The Connections linking medical deaths and corruption

It is necessary to make the connections so that we can step back and see the ‘big picture’ of what’s really going on and why certain things occur: If not, then indeed, this can be likened to the analogy of looking at separated pieces of jigsaw puzzle and not having the realisation that they are somehow all connected and therefore not carrying out the task of joining up the pieces to see how it works overall. 

-Such has happened in the circumstances surrounding deaths from medical mistakes. This is why the corruption still continues and how the villains are allowed to get away with it. The big picture and the corruption comprise the connections between: The World Health Organisation, approval bodies such as the FDA, pharmaceutical companies, equipment manufacturers, academia, research institutions, media, the legal profession, healthcare staff and patients. -All these can be tied in with ‘favours for favours…’

Nothing stays the same. If everyone was concerned enough to get a deep enough level of realisation of what’s really going on in medicine by connecting up the circumstances or pieces of information to find that they are interrelated (the big picture), then consequently, there would be a mass transformation of the healthcare system. This would eventually be brought about by the reactions that would follow from realising the corruption.

-This mass transformation is my vision: To see a major turnaround of the healthcare system, where treatment will be based on a genuine want to cure people. Where people are put before profits, instead of the reverse; the way it is at the moment.


It is also the visions of other activists and dissident Doctors, growing in numbers by the day. I would say that one of the biggest reasons why more and more people are realising that they are caught up in a scandal in medicine is through the availability of the internet and its access to information that would otherwise be very difficult to get. I also find that, in some of my discussions with people, I can see that their intuition has been already telling them that something is not right in the world of medicine… 

I predict that, in time, whether it will take a few years or many decades I don’t really know, but we will have a revolution on our hands. The healthcare system will change. I have no doubt that it will be a radical change.


Western world medicine should be truly outstanding considering the money spent, but it is not, as exemplified in the above must see video featuring an impassioned talk by Doctor Joe Mercola with jaw-dropping facts and figures:

Are deaths from medical mistakes THE biggest cause of death and suffering? 

Every time deaths from medical mistakes (or deaths from medicine) are re-estimated, taking other factors into consideration the figure increases. Will we ever get a true figure?

Over the last few decades, the more technology that has been introduced into orthodox medicine be it, drugs, state-of-the-art equipment, apparatus, technical expertise…the more unnecessary procedures there are. I’m not for one minute saying that all technology is bad, but a lot of it can do a great deal of harm.

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Drugs Information Online


Vaccinated Norwegians Get Mumps During “Outbreak”


Roughly 80 Norwegian college students have reportedly contracted mumps. Of the 80, many reportedly were previously vaccinated with the MMR vaccine, which, by all logical and reasonable accounts, should have protected them. However, Norwegian health officials are making excuses over the matter.

According to OutBreakNewsToday.

Several of those who are now sick with mumps are Norwegian students who have previously received two doses of MMR vaccine is recommended.

It is possible to get sick with mumps even if you have been fully vaccinated against the disease, confirming Margrethe Greve-Isdahl, chief physician at the Department of vaccine, Public Health (FHI).


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The Norway Institute for Public Health, or Folkehelseinstituttet has announced a mumps outbreak, primarily among university students. The first reported cases were in the Trondheim area–the Norwegian technical and University of Science and Technology (NTNU) and the University College of Sør-Trøndelag (HIST) in late October.



Now the case count hovers around 80 and health officials expect the cases to increase in coming weeks.

Several of those who are now sick with mumps are Norwegian students who have previously received two doses of MMR vaccine is recommended.

It is possible to get sick with mumps even if you have been fully vaccinated against the disease, confirming Margrethe Greve-Isdahl, chief physician at the Department of vaccine, Public Health (FHI).

In Norway, the vaccine against mumps in the MMR vaccine (measles, mumps and rubella) offered in the childhood immunization. First dose offered to children at 15 months of age and second dose at 11 years of age (6th grade). FHI generally recommend that all who have not received two doses of MMR vaccine are eligible for this. This also applies to students who come to Norway. Upon initial vaccination is recommended that at least three months between doses, but there is a benefit to the immune response if it goes longer.


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July 27, 2015

by Rob Wallace

The notion of a neoliberal Ebola is so beyond the pale as to send leading lights in ecology and health into apoplectic fits.

Here’s one of bestseller David Quammen’s five tweets denouncing my hypothesis that neoliberalism drove the emergence of Ebola in West Africa. I’m an “addled guy” whose “loopy [blog] post” and “confused nonsense” Quammen hopes “doesn’t mislead credulous people.”

Scientific American’s Steve Mirksy joked that he feared “the supply-side salmonella”. He would walk that back when I pointed out the large literature documenting the ways and means by which the economics of the egg sector is driving salmonella’s evolution.

The facts of the Ebola outbreak similarly turn Quammen’s objection on its head.

Guinea Forest Region in 2014

Guinea Forest Region in 2014 (Photo Credit Daniel Bausch)











The virus appears to have been spilling over for years in West Africa. Epidemiologist Joseph Fair’s group found antibodies to multiple species of Ebola, including the very Zaire strain that set off the outbreak, in patients in Sierra Leone as far back as five years ago. Phylogenetic analyses meanwhile show the Zaire strain Bayesian-dated in West Africa as far back as a decade.

An NIAID team showed the outbreak strain as possessing no molecular anomaly, with nucleotide substitution rates typical of Ebola outbreaks across Africa.

That result begs an explanation for Ebola’s ecotypic shift from intermittent forest killer to a protopandemic infection infecting 27,000 and killing over 11,000 across the region, leaving bodies in the streets of capital cities Monrovia and Conakry.

Explaining the rise of Ebola

The answer, little explored in the scientific literature or the media, appears in the broader context in which Ebola emerged in West Africa.

The truth of the whole, in this case connecting disease dynamics, land use and global economics, routinely suffers at the expense of the principle of expediency. Such contextualization often represents a threat to many of the underlying premises of power.

In the face of such an objection, it was noted that the structural adjustment to which West Africa has been subjected the past decade included the kinds of divestment from public health infrastructure that permitted Ebola to incubate at the population level once it spilled over.

The effects, however, extend even farther back in the causal chain. The shifts in land use in the Guinea Forest Region from where the Ebola epidemic spread were also connected to neoliberal efforts at opening the forest to global circuits of capital.

Daniel Bausch and Lara Schwarz characterize the Forest Region, where the virus emerged, as a mosaic of small and isolated populations of a variety of ethnic groups that hold little political power and receive little social investment. The forest’s economy and ecology are also strained by thousands of refugees from civil wars in neighboring countries.

The Region is subjected to the tandem trajectories of accelerating deterioration in public infrastructure and concerted efforts at private development dispossessing smallholdings and traditional foraging grounds for mining, clear-cut logging, and increasingly intensified agriculture.

The Ebola hot zone as a whole comprises a part of the larger Guinea Savannah Zone the World Bank describes as “one of the largest underused agricultural land reserves in the world.” Africa hosts 60% of the world’s last farmland frontier. And the Bank sees the Savannah best developed by market commercialization, if not solely on the agribusiness model.

As the Land Matrix Observatory documents, such prospects are in the process of being actualized. There, one can see the 90 deals by which U.S.-backed multinationals have procured hundreds of thousands of hectares for export crops, biofuels and mining around the world, including multiple deals in Sub-Saharan Africa. The Observatory’s online database shows similar land deals pursued by other world powers, including the UK, France, and China.

Under the newly democratized Guinean government, the Nevada-based and British-backed Farm Land of Guinea Limited secured 99-year leases for two parcels totaling nearly 9000 hectares outside the villages of N’Dema and Konindou in Dabola Prefecture, where a secondary Ebola epicenter developed, and 98,000 hectares outside the village of Saraya in Kouroussa Prefecture. The Ministry of Agriculture has now tasked Farm Land Inc to survey and map an additional 1.5 million hectares for third-party development.

While these as of yet undeveloped acquisitions are not directly tied to Ebola, they are markers of a complex, policy-driven phase change in agroecology that our group hypothesizes undergirds Ebola’s emergence.

The role of palm oil in West Africa

Our thesis orbits around palm oil, in particular.

Palm is a vegetable oil of highly saturated fats derived from the red mesocarp of the African oil palm tree now grown around the world. The fruit’s kernel also produces its own oil. Refined and fractionated into a variety of byproducts, both oils are used in an array of food, cosmetic and cleaning products, as well as in some biodiesels. With the abandonment of trans fats, palm oil represents a growing market, with global exports totaling nearly 44 million metric tons in the 2014 growing season.

Oil palm plantations, covering more than 17 million hectares worldwide, are tied to deforestation and expropriation of lands from indigenous groups. We see from this Food and Agriculture Organization map that while most of the production can be found in Asia, particularly in Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand, most of the suitable land left for palm oil can be found in the Amazon and the Congo Basin, the two largest rainforests in the world.

Palm oil represents a classic case of Lauderdale’s paradox. As environmental resources are destroyed what’s left becomes more valuable. A decaying resource base, then, is no due cause for agribusiness turning into good global citizens, as industry-funded advocates have argued. On the contrary, agribusiness seeks exclusive access to our now fiscally appreciating, if ecologically declining, landscapes.

Food production didn’t start that way in West Africa, of course.

Natural and semi-wild groves of different oil palm types have long served as a source of red palm oil in the Guinea Forest Region. Forest farmers have been raising palm oil in one or another form for hundreds of years. Fallow periods allowing soils to recover, however, were reduced over the 20th century from 20 years in the 1930s to 10 by the 1970s, and still further by the 2000s, with the added effect of increasing grove density. Concomitantly, semi-wild production has been increasingly replaced with intensive hybrids, and red oil replaced by, or mixed with, industrial and kernel oils.

Other crops are grown too, of course. Regional shade agriculture includes coffee, cocoa and kola. Slash-and-burn rice, maize, hibiscus, and corms of the first year, followed by peanut and cassava of the second and a fallow period, are rotated through the agroforest. Lowland flooding supports rice. In essence, we see a move toward increased intensification without private capital but still classifiable as agroforestry.

But even this kind of farming has since been transformed.

The Guinean Oil Palm and Rubber Company (with the French acronym SOGUIPAH) began in 1987 as a parastatal cooperative in the Forest but since has grown to the point it is better characterized a state company. It is leading efforts that began in 2006 to develop plantations of intensive hybrid palm for commodity export. SOGUIPAH economized palm production for the market by forcibly expropriating farmland, which to this day continues to set off violent protest.

International aid has accelerated industrialization. SOGUIPAH’s new mill, with four times the capacity of one it previously used, was financed by the European Investment Bank.

The mill’s capacity ended the artisanal extraction that as late as 2010 provided local populations full employment. The subsequent increase in seasonal production has at one and the same time led to harvesting above the mill’s capacity and operation below capacity off-season, leading to a conflict between the company and some of its 2000 now partially proletarianized pickers, some of whom insist on processing a portion of their own yield to cover the resulting gaps in cash flow. Pickers who insist on processing their own oil during the rainy season now risk arrest.

The new economic geography has also initiated a classic case of land expropriation and enclosure, turning a tradition of shared forest commons toward expectations whereby informal pickers working fallow land outside their family lineage obtain an owner’s permission before picking palm.

Palm oil and Ebola

What does all this have to do with Ebola?

Fig. 1 Palm Oil and Ebola

Fig. 1 Palm Oil and Ebola

The figure at top left (of Fig. 1) shows an archipelago of oil palm plots in the Guéckédou area, the outbreak’s apparent ground zero. The characteristic landscape is a mosaic of villages surrounded by dense vegetation and interspersed by crop fields of oil palm (in red) and patches of open forest and regenerated young forest.

The general pattern can be discerned at a finer scale as well, above, west of the town of Meliandou, where the index cases appeared.

The landscape embodies a growing interface between humans and frugivore bats, a key Ebola reservoir, including hammer-headed bats, little collared fruit bats and Franquet’s epauletted fruit bats.

Nur Juliani Shafie and colleagues document a variety of disturbance-associated fruit bats attracted to oil palm plantations. Bats migrate to oil palm for food and shelter from the heat while the plantations’ wide trails also permit easy movement between roosting and foraging sites.

Bats aren’t stupid. As the forest disappears they shift their foraging behavior to what food and shelter are left.

Bush meat hunting and butchery are one means by which subsequent spillover may take place. But to move away from the kinds of Western ooga booga epidemiology that wraps outbreaks in such ‘dirty’ cultural cloth, agricultural cultivation may be enough. Fruit bats in Bangladesh transmitted Nipah virus to human hosts by urinating on the date fruit humans cultivated.

Almudena Marí Saéz and colleagues have since proposed the initial Ebola spillover occurred outside Meliandou when children, including the putative index case, caught and played with Angolan free-tailed bats in a local tree. The bats are an insectivore species also previously documented as an Ebola virus carrier.

Whatever the specific reservoir source, shifts in agroeconomic context still appear a primary cause. Previous studies show the free-tailed bats also attracted to expanding cash crop production in West Africa, including of sugar cane, cotton, and macadamia.

Indeed, every Ebola outbreak appears connected to capital-driven shifts in land use, including back to the first outbreak in Nzara, Sudan in 1976, where a British-financed factory spun and wove local cotton. When Sudan’s civil war ended in 1972, the area rapidly repopulated and much of the local rainforest—and bat ecology—was reclaimed for subsistence farming, with cotton returning as the area’s dominant cash crop.

Are New York, London and Hong Kong as much to blame?

Clearly such outbreaks aren’t merely about specific companies.

We have started working with University of Washington’s Luke Bergmann to test whether the world’s circuits of capital as they relate to husbandry and land use are related to disease emergence. Bergmann and Holmberg’s maps, still in preparation, show the percent of land whose harvests are consumed abroad as agricultural goods or in manufactured goods and services for croplands, pastureland and forests.

The maps show landscapes are globalized by circuits of capital. In this way, the source of a disease may be more than merely the country in which it may first appear and indeed may extend as far as the other side of the world. We need to identify who funded the development and deforestation to begin with.

Such an epidemiology begs whether we might more accurately characterize such places as New York, London and Hong Kong, key sources of capital, as disease ‘hot spots’ in their own right. Diseases are relational in their geographies, and not solely absolute, as the ecohealth cowboys chronicled by David Quammen claim.

Similarly, such a new approach ruins the neat dichotomy between emergency responses and structural interventions.

Some disease hounds who acknowledge global structural issues tend to still focus on the immediate logistics of any given outbreak. Emergency responses are needed, of course. But we need to acknowledge that the emergency arose from the structural. Indeed, such emergencies are used as a means by which to avoid talking about the bigger picture driving the emergence of new diseases.

The forest may be its own cure

There’s another false dichotomy to unpack—this one between the forest’s ecosystemic noise and deterministic effect.

The environmental stochasticity at the center of forest ecology isn’t synonymous with random noise.

Here a bit of math can help. A simple stochastic differential model of exponential pathogen population growth can include fractional white noise of an index 0 to 1 defined by a covariance relationship across time and space. An Ito expansion produces a classic result in population growth:

When below a threshold, the noise exponent is small enough to permit a pathogen population to explode in size. When above the threshold, the noise is large enough to control an outbreak, frustrating efforts on the part of the pathogen to string together a bunch of susceptibles to infect.

Never mind the technical details. The important point is that disease trajectories, even in the deepest forest, aren’t divorced from their anthropogenic context. That context can impact upon the forest’s environmental noise and its effects on disease.

How exactly in Ebola’s case?

It’s been long known that if you can lower an outbreak below an infection Allee threshold—say by a vaccine or sanitary practices—an outbreak, not finding enough susceptibles, can burn out on its own. But commoditizing the forest may have lowered the region’s ecosystemic threshold to such a point where no emergency intervention can drive the Ebola outbreak low enough to burn out on its own. The virus will continue to circulate, with the potential to explode again.

In short, neoliberalism’s structural shifts aren’t just a background on which the emergency of Ebola takes place. The shifts are the emergency as much as the virus itself.

In contrast to Nassim Taleb’s Black Swan—history as shit happens—we have here an example of stochasticity’s impact arising out of deterministic agroeconomic policy—a phenomenon I’ve taken to calling the Red Swan.

Here, sudden switches in land use may explain Ebola’s emergence. Deforestation and intensive agriculture strip out traditional agroforestry’s stochastic friction that until this point had kept the virus from stringing together enough transmission.

Under certain conditions, the forest may act as its own epidemiological protection. We risk the next deadly pandemic when we destroy that capacity.

Rob Wallace is an evolutionary biologist and public health phylogeographer currently visiting the Institute of Global Studies at the University of Minnesota. He also blogs at Farming Pathogens.

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Organic Consumers Association

Campaigning for health, justice, sustainability, peace, and democracy

Monsanto’s Roundup: The Whole Toxic Enchilada

November 19, 2015

Monsanto’s Roundup: The Whole Toxic Enchilada

Last week, while we waited for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to announce whether or not the agency will give Monsanto’s Roundup a free pass by green lighting the use of glyphosate for another 15 years, the EPA’s counterpart in the EU made its own big announcement.

Glyphosate is “unlikely to cause cancer” said the authors of the new report by the European Union Food Safety Authority (EFSA).

That headline, music to Monsanto’s ears, seemed to fly in the face of the findings published earlier this year by the World Health Organization (WHO). After extensive review of the evidence, all 17 of WHO’s leading cancer experts said glyphosate is a “probable human carcinogen?”

Sustainable Pulse (SP), publisher of global news on GMOs and other food-related issues, quickly reported the glaring omission made by the majority of news sources reporting on EFSA’s findings.

According to SP, what EFSA really concluded is this: Glyphosate by itself doesn’t cause cancer. But products like Monsanto’s Roundup, which contain glyphosate and other additives and chemicals that are essential to making the herbicide work? That’s another, or in this case, the rest of the story.


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Having A Baby In The U.S. Is Twice As Dangerous As In Canada

Our maternal mortality rate has gotten worse since the ’90s.

Kelvin Murray via Getty Images 

Women are twice as likely to die from causes related to pregnancy or childbirth in the United States than in Canada, a new global survey of maternal mortality published by the United Nations and the World Bank showed on Thursday.

The United States was also one of only 13 countries to have worse rates of maternal mortality in 2015 than in 1990 – a group that also includes North Korea, Zimbabwe and Venezuela.

The survey, led by the World Health Organization, aims to track progress against the U.N. Millennium Development Goals. It estimated there would be 303,000 maternal deaths globally this year, down from 532,000 in 1990.


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Earth Watch Report  –  Biological Hazards

Ebola virus




Biological Hazard Canada Province of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon Damage level Details




Biological Hazard in Canada on Tuesday, 25 March, 2014 at 04:31 (04:31 AM) UTC.

Saskatchewan health officials say a man who recently travelled to western Africa is seriously ill in hospital and one of the possible diagnoses they are considering is Ebola hemorrhagic fever. Dr. Denise Werker, deputy chief medical health officer, said there is fear an outbreak of the Ebola virus has spread to Liberia, where the man was travelling. “All we know at this point is that we have a person who is critically ill who travelled from a country where these diseases occur,” she said. She says hemorrhagic fevers are spread through contact with a sick person’s bodily fluids – one of the final symptoms is bleeding from the mouth and eyes. “Ebola hemorrhagic fever is not a highly infectious disease. People need to be in close contact with blood and bodily fluids and so that would be close household contacts of people who are taking care of these individuals,” she said. “There is no risk to the general public at all about this.” African health officials announced Monday that an outbreak of Ebola is believed to have killed at least 59 people in Guinea and may already have spread to neighbouring Liberia. Health workers in Guinea are trying to contain the spread of the disease. In Liberia, health officials said they are investigating five deaths after several people crossed the border from Guinea in search of medical treatment. Werker says the man showed no signs of illness on his return journey.
Biohazard name: Ebola (Viral Fever) – Susp.
Biohazard level: 4/4 Hazardous
Biohazard desc.: Viruses and bacteria that cause severe to fatal disease in humans, and for which vaccines or other treatments are not available, such as Bolivian and Argentine hemorrhagic fevers, H5N1(bird flu), Dengue hemorrhagic fever, Marburg virus, Ebola virus, hantaviruses, Lassa fever, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, and other hemorrhagic or unidentified diseases. When dealing with biological hazards at this level the use of a Hazmat suit and a self-contained oxygen supply is mandatory. The entrance and exit of a Level Four biolab will contain multiple showers, a vacuum room, an ultraviolet light room, autonomous detection system, and other safety precautions designed to destroy all traces of the biohazard. Multiple airlocks are employed and are electronically secured to prevent both doors opening at the same time. All air and water service going to and coming from a Biosafety Level 4 (P4) lab will undergo similar decontamination procedures to eliminate the possibility of an accidental release.
Status: suspected




Biological Hazard in Canada on Tuesday, 25 March, 2014 at 04:31 (04:31 AM) UTC.


Updated: Tuesday, 25 March, 2014 at 04:45 UTC
Saskatchewan health officials say a man who recently travelled to Liberia in Western Africa is “seriously ill” in a Saskatoon hospital with a high fever and other symptoms. Officials have not yet identified the nature of the illness, but Deputy Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Denise Werker, said at a news conference on Monday that the man is being examined for a suspected case of viral hemorrhagic fever. “Viral hemorrhagic fever is a generic name for a number of rather exotic diseases that are found in Africa,” said Werker. These diseases include Ebola hemorrhagic fever, Lassa fever, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever and yellow fever. Liberia is currently dealing with an outbreak of Ebola after the virus killed more than 59 people in neighbouring Guinea. “All we know at this point is that we have a person who is critically ill who travelled from a country where these diseases occur,” Werkersaid. Tests have already been sent to the Public Health Agency of Canada’s National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg, said Werker. Results are expected Tuesday. “Measures have been taken to isolate the patient to ensure the illness is not transmitted,” Saskatchewan health officials said in a statement. “Public health officials believe the risk to the public is low, and are investigating.” The Canadian patient showed no signs of the illness on his return to Saskatchewan, said Werker. There is no vaccine for the Ebola virus, which leads to severe hemorrhagic fever. Werker said the virus is not as contagious as some might believe, and that it is transferrable through saliva and other bodily fluids. One of the final symptoms is bleeding from the eyes and mouth. “People need to be in close contact with blood and bodily fluids so that would be close household contacts of people who are taking care of these individuals,” said Werker. “There is no risk to the general public at all about this.”————–

A man is in hospital in Canada with symptoms of a haemorrhagic fever resembling the Ebola virus, a health official has said. The man had recently returned from Liberia in the west African region, currently suffering a deadly outbreak of an unidentified haemorrhagic fever. He is in isolation in critical condition in Saskatoon, the largest city in Saskatchewan province. A provincial medical official said there was no risk to the public. Dr Denise Werker, the province’s deputy chief medical officer, declined to say how long the man had been in Africa but said he only fell ill after returning to Canada. She said that was in line with the profile of common deadly haemorrhagic fever viruses Lassa fever and Ebola, which have an incubation period of up to 21 days. She said the people most at risk were healthcare workers who do not protect themselves from contact with the patient’s bodily secretions. “There is no risk to the general public,” she said. “We recognise that there is going to be a fair amount of concern and that is why we wanted to go public with this as soon as possible.” A virus resembling Ebola has struck in Guinea, with cases also reported in Liberia. As many as 61 people have died of the disease in the remote forests of southern Guinea. But health officials in the Guinean capital, Conakry, have said the virus is not Ebola. In Saskatchewan, Dr Werker said the man’s diagnosis had not yet been confirmed and that a laboratory in Winnipeg was testing a biological specimen from the man.




Biological Hazard in Canada on Tuesday, 25 March, 2014 at 04:31 (04:31 AM) UTC.


Updated: Tuesday, 25 March, 2014 at 16:53 UTC
A suspected case of the deadly Ebola virus in Saskatchewan has tested negative. Tests also came back negative for Lassa, Marburg and Crimean Congo. The World Health Organization (WHO) tweeted the results Tuesday from its verified Twitter account. Canada’s deputy chief public health officer said in a release that tests at the Public Health Agency of Canada’s National Microbiology Laboratory confirmed the ill man does not have Ebola or any other hemorrhagic viruses. Dr. Gregory Taylor’s statement said ruling out those four hemorrhagic viruses “significantly reduces the risk to the people who have been in close contact with the patient while the patient has exhibited symptoms.” Taylor added there has never been a confirmed case of a hemorrhagic virus in Canada, and that testing continues to determine the man’s illness. “If a case were ever confirmed in Canada, the Public Health Agency of Canada would alert Canadians immediately and put measures in place to protect the public,” the PHAC said in a statement. Hartl suggested the case “is apparently a severe case of malaria.” A top Saskatchewan public health official announced Monday that the man in question, who was recently in the West African country of Liberia, was critically ill and isolated in a Saskatoon hospital with what was believed to be viral hemorrhagic fever (VHF). Included in the general class of VHFs are Ebola fever, Lassa fever, Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever, yellow fever, dengue fever, and Marburg hemorrhagic fever. Health care workers sent the patient’s specimens to the national microbiology laboratory in Winnipeg for a diagnosis, said deputy chief medical health officer Dr. Denise Werker. Rampant spread of hemorrhagic fevers in Africa, including a current outbreak in Guinea of Ebola, can be linked back to poor infection control in hospitals, Werker said.




Biological Hazard in Canada on Tuesday, 25 March, 2014 at 04:31 (04:31 AM) UTC.


Updated: Thursday, 27 March, 2014 at 04:12 UTC
Doctors say the man isolated in a Saskatoon hospital after returning home from Africa has an undiagnosed fever of unknown origin. Rod Ogilvie remains in critical condition and is intubated with failing organs according to Denise Werker, Deputy Chief Medical Health Officer. Late Monday night, lab tests resulted negative for the four most serious pathogens of viral hemorrhagic fever: Ebola virus, Marburg virus, Crimean-Congo virus and Lassa virus. Werker said there are other hemorrhagic fevers, like Dangue, but those are not transmissible from person to person. As a precaution, doctors also isolated some of Ogilvie’s family members while they investigated the possibility for viral hemorrhagic fevers like Ebola but those people have been released now that it has been ruled out. Doctors still don’t know exactly what kind of illness Ogilvie is suffering from so more lab tests are being done into other diseases like Malaria.”Malaria is not contagious from person to person. If this person has a bacterial infection that has caused an encephalitis or meningitis kind of disease, potentially that could be infectious to close contacts,” she said but explained doctors do not think there is any risk to the public. However the first test for Malaria resulted negative but they are doing another review of the test slide just to make sure. “A pathologist looks underneath a microscope and actually has to identify those organisms on the slide, so it could be like looking for a needle in a haystack,” said Werker. Ministry of Health gets information about diseases and outbreaks from the World Health Organization (WHO) that is then circulated to Saskatchewan’s medical health officers. She said they provide info to physicians in the community to alert their diagnostic suspicion of those diseases. “The fact that viral hemorrhagic fever was considered in this circumstance is a great indication that our systems are working to keep our residents safe,” said Werker. Ogilvie returned to Saskatchewan on March 8 but did not start to show symptoms until March 20. Werker stressed there was no risk to public health between that time for people on the aircraft or on public transit because most people only become contagious once they are symptomatic. There would also have to be direct contact between bodily fluids like blood or using his toothbrush.



By Dana Ford CNN

Canada patient tests negative for Ebola

WHO says testing will continue

UPDATED 10:19 AM CDT Mar 25, 2014
Ebola virus


(CNN) —A man in Canada who was suspected of having Ebola has tested negative for viral hemorrhagic fevers, according to the World Health Organization and Canadian health officials.

Viral hemorrhagic fevers is a generic term that refers to a number of diseases found in Africa, including Ebola hemorrhagic fever, Lassa fever, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever and yellow fever, according to Denise Werker, deputy chief medical health officer at the Saskatchewan Ministry of Health.

Testing on the man continues, WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl said in a tweet. “May be malaria. Will know today.”

“The patient in Saskatchewan does not have Ebola, Lassa, Marburg or Crimean Congo virus,” said a statement from the Deputy Chief Public Health Office in Saskatchewan.

“The risk to Canadians remains very low. In addition, the ruling out of those four hemorrhagic viruses significantly reduces the risk to people who have been in close contact with the patient while the patient has exhibited symptoms.”

Health officials in Canada said Monday they were looking into the case of a man exhibiting symptoms consistent with viral hemorrhagic fevers. He had recently traveled from Liberia.

“There is no risk to the general public at all about this incident. We recognize that there’s going to be a fair amount of concern, and that’s why we wanted to go public with this as soon as possible and dispel some of those myths that are out there,” Werker told reporters Monday.


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