Science & Environment

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Quebec man stung by scorpion hiding in Costco bananas
Author of the article:Denette Wilford
Published Mar 26, 2024 • Last updated 1 day ago • 2 minute read

A man in Laval, Que., says he was stung by a scorpion concealed in a bunch of bananas he had purchased at Costco.


Benoit Sanscartier had bought groceries from the Costco location in Boisbriand, just west of Laval, when the shocking incident occurred.


“I removed the paper around the bananas and I got stung by the scorpion,” Sanscartier told TVA Nouvelles.

He added that the sting hurt badly, describing it as “twice the pain of a wasp sting.”

University of Montreal entomologist Etienne Normandin told the outlet that these scorpions “are imported from the southern United States or Central America and are frequently found on bananas or grapes.”

The scorpion found in Sanscartier’s Costco bananas are believed to have come from Guatemala.

Sanscartier called 811 immediately after he was bitten but after more than an hour of waiting, he went to the hospital.


When Sanscartier reached out to Costco, they told him they only had a protocol in place for employees.

“It’s the first time they’ve seen that for a client,” he said.

Sanscartier now keeps the scorpion in a jar.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has launched an investigation into how the scorpion got all the way to Canada.

However, Normandin explained that in some South American countries, the items are placed in carts or in large warehouses where scorpions “can sneak in and be transported here.”



He added: “In a few days, the scorpion can survive the cold, because they are kept in stable conditions.”

Toronto Sun columnist Dr. Sylvain Charlebois noted this isn’t the first time scorpions have been found hiding in bananas in Canada.

“Scorpions have been found before in Canada, concealed in bananas, in 2017 in Nova Scotia, and Montreal in 2023,” he posted on X.

The Sun reached out to Costco but did not get a response in time for publication.
 

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Bird flu detected in milk from dairy cows in Texas and Kansas
Author of the article:Washington Post
Washington Post
Andrew Jeong, The Washington Post
Published Mar 26, 2024 • 2 minute read

Bird-Flu-Livestock
The U.S. Department of Agriculture said Monday, March 25, 2024, that milk from dairy cows in Texas and Kansas has tested positive for bird flu.
Milk and nasal swab samples from sick cattle on at least two dairy farms in Texas and two in Kansas have tested positive for bird flu, according to federal and state officials.


Agencies are moving quickly to conduct more testing for the illness – known as highly pathogenic avian influenza, or HPAI – the U.S. Department of Agriculture said in a news release Monday.


Cattle are showing flu-like symptoms and lactating discolored milk, Texas state officials said. Wild migratory birds are probably the source of infection, federal officials added, pointing to reports that farms have found dead wild birds on their properties.

The announcement comes after Minnesota officials reported the first infection of avian flu among livestock in the United States last week, when a juvenile goat living on a farm with infected poultry tested positive.

The infections among cattle pose minimal risk to human food safety or milk supply and prices, officials said. Milk from sick cattle is being diverted or destroyed. Pasteurization – a heating treatment that kills pathogens – is required for milk involved in interstate commerce, greatly reducing the possibility that infected milk enters the food supply, they added.


The milk samples that tested positive for bird flu were unpasteurized, according to federal officials.

“There is no threat to the public and there will be no supply shortages,” Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller said in a news release. “No contaminated milk is known to have entered the food chain; it has all been dumped. In the rare event that some affected milk enters the food chain, the pasteurization process will kill the virus.”

Officials have long cautioned consumers to avoid raw milk, or unpasteurized milk, which can be sold within some states, including Texas and Kansas. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls raw milk “one of the riskiest foods” and says it is “linked to a variety of foodborne illnesses.”


Texas requires dairy farms selling raw milk to have it tested every three months. Kansas requires raw milk sales to “take place at the farm where it was produced,” while any advertising and any containers must plainly state that it is raw milk.

The loss of milk from symptomatic cows is too limited to have a major impact on milk supply, federal officials said, meaning “there should be no impact on the price of milk or other dairy products.”

Federal and state officials are investigating primarily older cows in Texas, Kansas and New Mexico. Iowa officials are also “actively monitoring this evolving situation.”

Unlike outbreaks among poultry, bird flu infections among mammals are expected not to require massive culling efforts, officials said. In rare cases, avian flu has jumped from birds to humans, most notably during an avian influenza outbreak in Hong Kong in 1997, according to the World Health Organization.

Brian Hoefs, a veterinarian and the executive director of the Minnesota Board of Animal Health, said last week that the kid goat’s bird flu infection “highlights the possibility of the virus infecting other animals on farms with multiple species.”

“Thankfully, research to-date has shown mammals appear to be dead-end hosts, which means they’re unlikely to spread HPAI further,” he added at the time.

Miller said he does not expect a “need to depopulate dairy herds,” and that the affected cattle are “expected to fully recover.”
 
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Measles cases in Canada are increasing, Canada’s chief public health officer warns
Author of the article:Canadian Press
Canadian Press
Nicole Ireland
Published Mar 27, 2024 • 2 minute read
Tam issued a statement Wednesday saying the Public Health Agency of Canada is aware of 40 measles cases in Canada so far this year.
Tam issued a statement Wednesday saying the Public Health Agency of Canada is aware of 40 measles cases in Canada so far this year.
The number of confirmed measles cases in Canada so far this year is more than three times higher than all infections recorded in 2023, the country’s chief public health officer said as she urged people to ensure their vaccinations are up to date.


The Public Health Agency of Canada is aware of 40 confirmed cases across the country in 2024, Dr. Theresa Tam said on Wednesday.


Tam said she is concerned that not enough school-aged children have been adequately vaccinated against the highly contagious virus.

“I strongly advise parents or caregivers to ensure that children in their care have received all measles vaccines according to schedule,” she said in an interview.

Those who aren’t sure about their child’s vaccination history should speak to their health-care provider or local public health agency, Tam said.

The timing of the doses varies by province and territory, but generally children get their first doses of measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine at 12 to 15 months of age and then a second dose before they start school.


“The measles-containing vaccines are very effective. (The) benefits far outweigh the risks,” Tam said.

“There’s no reason why children — who could get quite seriously sick from this illness — should be getting it because it’s vaccine-preventable,” she said.

Quebec has had 28 confirmed cases this year — the most in the country, Tam said. Ontario has had 10 cases; B.C. and Saskatchewan have had one case each.

The majority of people who have been infected with measles in Canada were unvaccinated and most of them were children.

Seven people have been hospitalized due to measles this year, Tam said.

She said although some people have been infected while travelling internationally, others have caught measles in Canada.


The Public Health Agency of Canada has previously urged people to check their measles vaccination status before the busy March Break travel season.

On Wednesday, Tam said it’s difficult to tell at this point if March break travel has contributed to an increase in cases, but wanted to get the message out again as people are preparing for family gatherings and religious celebrations.

The rise in measles this year is likely caused by increased measles activity worldwide, combined with “suboptimal vaccine uptake nationally,” Tam said.

She said there may have been a decrease in access to routine vaccinations during the COVID-19 pandemic, but local public health agencies have been “trying very hard to do catch up.”


There has been a recent “upswing in public interest in getting the vaccine, which is great,” she said.

Symptoms of measles include fever, red watery eyes, runny nose and a cough at first. Those symptoms are followed by a red rash that starts on the face and moves to other parts of the body, the Public Health Agency of Canada said in a statement.

“Measles is more than a rash. Infection can lead to rare, but severe complications, including deafness and brain injury caused by inflammation of the brain, and can even be fatal,” the statement said.

A 95 per cent vaccination rate is needed to give communities herd immunity against measles.

The most recent available national data, which is from 2021, showed that 79 per cent of children had two doses of measles vaccine by age seven.
 

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Largest fresh egg producer in U.S. has found bird flu in chickens at Texas, Michigan plants
Author of the article:Associated Press
Associated Press
Ken Miller
Published Apr 02, 2024 • 2 minute read

The largest producer of fresh eggs in the U.S. said Tuesday it had temporarily halted production at a Texas plant after bird flu was found in chickens, and officials said the virus had also been detected at a poultry facility in Michigan.


Ridgeland, Mississippi-based Cal-Maine Foods, Inc. said in a statement that approximately 1.6 million laying hens and 337,000 pullets, about 3.6% of its total flock, were destroyed after the infection, avian influenza, was found at a facility in Parmer County, Texas.

The plant is on the Texas-New Mexico border in the Texas Panhandle about 85 miles (137 kilometers) southwest of Amarillo and about 370 miles (595 kilometers) northwest of Dallas. Cal-Maine said it sells most of its eggs in the Southwestern, Southeastern, Midwestern and mid-Atlantic regions of the United States.

“The Company continues to work closely with federal, state and local government officials and focused industry groups to mitigate the risk of future outbreaks and effectively manage the response,” the statement said.


“Cal-Maine Foods is working to secure production from other facilities to minimize disruption to its customers,” the statement said.

The company said there is no known bird flu risk associated with eggs that are currently in the market and no eggs have been recalled.

Eggs that are properly handled and cooked are safe to eat, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The announcement by Cal-Maine comes a day after state health officials said a person had been diagnosed with bird flu after being in contact with cows presumed to be infected, and that the risk to the public remains low. The human case in Texas marks the first known instance globally of a person catching this version of bird flu from a mammal, federal health officials said.


In Michigan, Michigan State University’s Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory has detected bird flu in a commercial poultry facility in Ionia County, according to the Michigan’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

The county is about 100 miles (161 kilometers) northwest of Detroit.

The department said it received confirmation of the disease Monday from the lab and that it is the fourth time since 2022 that the disease was detected at a commercial facility in Michigan.

Department spokesperson Jennifer Holton said Tuesday that state law prohibits the department from disclosing the type of poultry at the facility. The facility has been placed under quarantine and the department does not anticipate any disruptions to supply chains across the state, Holton said.

Dairy cows in Texas and Kansas were reported to be infected with bird flu last week — and federal agriculture officials later confirmed infections in a Michigan dairy herd that had recently received cows from Texas. A dairy herd in Idaho has been added to the list after federal agriculture officials confirmed the detection of bird flu in them, according to a Tuesday press release from the USDA.
 

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Low Earth Orbit
Largest fresh egg producer in U.S. has found bird flu in chickens at Texas, Michigan plants
Author of the article:Associated Press
Associated Press
Ken Miller
Published Apr 02, 2024 • 2 minute read

The largest producer of fresh eggs in the U.S. said Tuesday it had temporarily halted production at a Texas plant after bird flu was found in chickens, and officials said the virus had also been detected at a poultry facility in Michigan.


Ridgeland, Mississippi-based Cal-Maine Foods, Inc. said in a statement that approximately 1.6 million laying hens and 337,000 pullets, about 3.6% of its total flock, were destroyed after the infection, avian influenza, was found at a facility in Parmer County, Texas.

The plant is on the Texas-New Mexico border in the Texas Panhandle about 85 miles (137 kilometers) southwest of Amarillo and about 370 miles (595 kilometers) northwest of Dallas. Cal-Maine said it sells most of its eggs in the Southwestern, Southeastern, Midwestern and mid-Atlantic regions of the United States.

“The Company continues to work closely with federal, state and local government officials and focused industry groups to mitigate the risk of future outbreaks and effectively manage the response,” the statement said.


“Cal-Maine Foods is working to secure production from other facilities to minimize disruption to its customers,” the statement said.

The company said there is no known bird flu risk associated with eggs that are currently in the market and no eggs have been recalled.

Eggs that are properly handled and cooked are safe to eat, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The announcement by Cal-Maine comes a day after state health officials said a person had been diagnosed with bird flu after being in contact with cows presumed to be infected, and that the risk to the public remains low. The human case in Texas marks the first known instance globally of a person catching this version of bird flu from a mammal, federal health officials said.


In Michigan, Michigan State University’s Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory has detected bird flu in a commercial poultry facility in Ionia County, according to the Michigan’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

The county is about 100 miles (161 kilometers) northwest of Detroit.

The department said it received confirmation of the disease Monday from the lab and that it is the fourth time since 2022 that the disease was detected at a commercial facility in Michigan.

Department spokesperson Jennifer Holton said Tuesday that state law prohibits the department from disclosing the type of poultry at the facility. The facility has been placed under quarantine and the department does not anticipate any disruptions to supply chains across the state, Holton said.

Dairy cows in Texas and Kansas were reported to be infected with bird flu last week — and federal agriculture officials later confirmed infections in a Michigan dairy herd that had recently received cows from Texas. A dairy herd in Idaho has been added to the list after federal agriculture officials confirmed the detection of bird flu in them, according to a Tuesday press release from the USDA.
Dinosaur Disease. It's gotta be an ancient virus.
 

spaminator

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American contracts bird flu after exposure to virus spreading in cows
Author of the article:Bloomberg News
Bloomberg News
Michelle Fay Cortez
Published Apr 03, 2024 • 1 minute read

A person in Texas contracted bird flu, most likely after being exposed to infected dairy cows, public health officials said, as an emerging outbreak among the animals spreads in the country.


The risk to the general population remains low, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. It is the second human case of bird flu, formally known as highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza, in the U.S. since 2022 when infections started gaining speed in wild and domesticated birds and other mammals.

Article content
The patient, who had no symptoms apart from red eyes suggestive of conjunctivitis, is receiving antiviral drugs and recovering, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.

The outbreak among dairy herds is relatively recent, with early reports of infected cows from Kansas, Michigan, New Mexico and Idaho. Unlike with chickens and other poultry flocks that are generally culled to prevent the spread of the virus, the U.S. Department of Agriculture isn’t recommending the destruction of infected cows “at this stage.”

The situation is “rapidly evolving,” the USDA said. The CDC is working with state health departments to monitor people and groups that may be at risk.
 

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Man who received pig kidney transplant leaves hospital, feels great
Author of the article:Washington Post
Washington Post
Jennifer Hassan, The Washington Post
Published Apr 04, 2024 • 3 minute read

Pig Kidney Transplant
A pig kidney sits on ice, awaiting transplantation into a living human at Massachusetts General Hospital, Saturday, March 16, 2024, in Boston, Mass. PHOTO BY MASSACHUSETTS GENERAL HOSPITAL VIA AP
Just over two weeks after doctors placed a genetically edited kidney from a pig inside Richard Slayman, the 62-year-old is recovering at home and relishing “one of the happiest moments” of his life, according to a statement from the hospital that carried out the landmark four-hour surgery.


On March 16, Slayman became the first living person to receive such a transplant, according to doctors at Massachusetts General Hospital.


In a statement Wednesday, the hospital confirmed that Slayman had been discharged and was “recovering well.” The facility has credited “years of research, preclinical studies and collaboration” for the successful surgery.

“This moment – leaving the hospital today with one of the cleanest bills of health I’ve had in a long time – is one I wished would come for many years,” Slayman said in a discharge statement released by the hospital. “Now, it’s a reality and one of the happiest moments of my life.”

Slayman, who works for the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, battled kidney disease for more than a decade. He had gone on dialysis and survived a human kidney transplant in 2018 but had since grown desperately ill and was near despair, The Washington Post reported last month.


As doctors planned the milestone surgery, they were required to seek approval from the Food and Drug Administration, which allowed the surgery under its “compassionate use” rules. The approval is granted in cases where a patient has a “serious or immediately life-threatening disease or condition” and there are no alternative treatments, according to the FDA.

Human and pig kidneys are of similar size. To reduce the risk of Slayman’s immune system attacking the transplanted pig’s organ, researchers needed to make 69 different edits to the pig’s genetic code.

For the more than 550,000 kidney patients in the United States receiving dialysis, Slayman’s story may offer a glimmer of hope. Leonardo V. Riella, medical director for kidney transplantation at Massachusetts General, has said he hopes that, as this science advances, dialysis will one day become obsolete.


Slayman said in his statement he was “excited to resume spending time” with his loved ones, “free from the burden of dialysis that has affected my quality of life for many years.”

As of February 2023, 88,658 people were on the waiting list for a kidney transplant in the United States, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

The institute notes that White people were more likely to receive a transplant within five years, compared to Black, Hispanic, and Asian people. Experts hope medical advances, including using pig kidneys, can help address this inequity, and address the gap between those waiting for transplants and the short supply of human organs available.

New technologies have been credited for recent advances in the field. They include CRISPR, the gene-editing tool recognized in 2020 with a Nobel Prize in chemistry, which can modify organs to make them less foreign to a recipient, reducing the chance of rejection.


Some scientists have also transplanted organs from animals into donated bodies, as part of their research into Xenotransplantation – the process of implanting organs from one species into another. They hope their findings will result in the FDA one day allowing formal Xenotransplant studies, the Associated Press reported.

In recent years, two patients have died after receiving organ transplants from animals.

In 2022, the first patient in the world to receive a genetically modified pig’s heart died around two months after the procedure, according to officials at the University of Maryland Medical Center. The patient, David Bennett Sr., suffered multiple complications, and traces of a virus that infects pigs were also found in his new heart, The Post reported.

In 2023, another patient died six weeks after receiving a pig heart transplant. Before the surgery, Lawrence Faucette was dying of heart failure and was deemed ineligible for a human heart transplant due to his advanced medical conditions. The pig transplant procedure was his last chance at life.

While Faucette initially showed “significant” signs of progress, his new heart began to show “signs of rejection” in the weeks that followed, officials at the University of Maryland School of Medicine said.
1712472835916.png
 
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Norfolk Southern agrees to pay $600M in settlement related to train derailment in eastern Ohio
Author of the article:Associated Press
Associated Press
Josh Funk
Published Apr 09, 2024 • 2 minute read

Train-Derailment-Ohio
Debris from a Norfolk Southern freight train lies scattered and burning along the tracks on Feb. 4, 2023, the day after it derailed in East Palestine, Ohio.
Norfolk Southern has agreed to pay $600 million in a class-action lawsuit settlement related to a fiery train derailment in February 2023 in eastern Ohio.


The company said Tuesday that the agreement, if approved by the court, will resolve all class action claims within a 20-mile radius from the derailment and, for those residents who choose to participate, personal injury claims within a 10-mile radius from the derailment.


Norfolk Southern added that individuals and businesses will be able to use compensation from the settlement in any manner they see fit to address potential adverse impacts from the derailment, which could include healthcare needs, property restoration and compensation for any net business loss. Individuals within 10-miles of the derailment may, at their discretion, choose to receive additional compensation for any past, current, or future personal injury from the derailment.


The company said that the settlement doesn’t include or constitute any admission of liability, wrongdoing, or fault.

The settlement is expected to be submitted for preliminary approval to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio later in April 2024. Payments to class members under the settlement could begin by the end of the year, subject to final court approval.

Norfolk Southern has already spent more than $1.1 billion on its response to the derailment, including more than $104 million in direct aid to East Palestine and its residents. Partly because Norfolk Southern is paying for the cleanup, President Joe Biden has never declared a disaster in East Palestine, which is a sore point for many residents. The railroad has promised to create a fund to help pay for the long-term health needs of the community, but that hasn’t happened yet.


Last week federal officials said that the aftermath of the train derailment doesn’t qualify as a public health emergency because widespread health problems and ongoing chemical exposures haven’t been documented.

The Environmental Protection Agency never approved that designation after the February 2023 Norfolk Southern derailment even though the disaster forced the evacuation of half the town of East Palestine and generated many fears about potential long-term health consequences of the chemicals that spilled and burned. The contamination concerns were exacerbated by the decision to blow open five tank cars filled with vinyl chloride and burn that toxic chemical three days after the derailment.


The head of the National Transportation Safety Board said recently that her agency’s investigation showed that the vent and burn of the vinyl chloride was unnecessary because the company that produced that chemical was sure no dangerous chemical reaction was happening inside the tank cars. But the officials who made the decision have said they were never told that.

The NTSB’s full investigation into the cause of the derailment won’t be complete until June, though that agency has said that an overheating wheel bearing on one of the railcars that wasn’t detected in time by a trackside sensor likely caused the crash.

The EPA has said the cleanup in East Palestine is expected to be complete sometime later this year.

Shares of Norfolk Southern Corp., based in Atlanta, fell about 1% before the opening bell Tuesday.
 

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Norfolk Southern agrees to pay $600M in settlement related to train derailment in eastern Ohio
Author of the article:Associated Press
Associated Press
Josh Funk
Published Apr 09, 2024 • 2 minute read

Train-Derailment-Ohio
Debris from a Norfolk Southern freight train lies scattered and burning along the tracks on Feb. 4, 2023, the day after it derailed in East Palestine, Ohio.
Norfolk Southern has agreed to pay $600 million in a class-action lawsuit settlement related to a fiery train derailment in February 2023 in eastern Ohio.


The company said Tuesday that the agreement, if approved by the court, will resolve all class action claims within a 20-mile radius from the derailment and, for those residents who choose to participate, personal injury claims within a 10-mile radius from the derailment.


Norfolk Southern added that individuals and businesses will be able to use compensation from the settlement in any manner they see fit to address potential adverse impacts from the derailment, which could include healthcare needs, property restoration and compensation for any net business loss. Individuals within 10-miles of the derailment may, at their discretion, choose to receive additional compensation for any past, current, or future personal injury from the derailment.


The company said that the settlement doesn’t include or constitute any admission of liability, wrongdoing, or fault.

The settlement is expected to be submitted for preliminary approval to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio later in April 2024. Payments to class members under the settlement could begin by the end of the year, subject to final court approval.

Norfolk Southern has already spent more than $1.1 billion on its response to the derailment, including more than $104 million in direct aid to East Palestine and its residents. Partly because Norfolk Southern is paying for the cleanup, President Joe Biden has never declared a disaster in East Palestine, which is a sore point for many residents. The railroad has promised to create a fund to help pay for the long-term health needs of the community, but that hasn’t happened yet.


Last week federal officials said that the aftermath of the train derailment doesn’t qualify as a public health emergency because widespread health problems and ongoing chemical exposures haven’t been documented.

The Environmental Protection Agency never approved that designation after the February 2023 Norfolk Southern derailment even though the disaster forced the evacuation of half the town of East Palestine and generated many fears about potential long-term health consequences of the chemicals that spilled and burned. The contamination concerns were exacerbated by the decision to blow open five tank cars filled with vinyl chloride and burn that toxic chemical three days after the derailment.


The head of the National Transportation Safety Board said recently that her agency’s investigation showed that the vent and burn of the vinyl chloride was unnecessary because the company that produced that chemical was sure no dangerous chemical reaction was happening inside the tank cars. But the officials who made the decision have said they were never told that.

The NTSB’s full investigation into the cause of the derailment won’t be complete until June, though that agency has said that an overheating wheel bearing on one of the railcars that wasn’t detected in time by a trackside sensor likely caused the crash.

The EPA has said the cleanup in East Palestine is expected to be complete sometime later this year.

Shares of Norfolk Southern Corp., based in Atlanta, fell about 1% before the opening bell Tuesday.
the place is called palestine thats why no one is doing shit to help them. ;)
 
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