Showing posts with the label disease

Agrochemicals speed the spread of deadly parasites

CLIMATE&CAPITALISM The schistosoma parasite worm. Image credit - David Williams, Illinois State University. Even low concentrations of pesticides can increase transmission and weaken efforts to control the second most common parasitic disease. Details here.

Beyond Covid 19. Are we risking yet another pandemic if we continue to embrace "assembly-line" livestock production into the future?

by Larry Powell No one would argue that Covid 19 demands our undivided attention. Surely,  defeating this "beast" has to be "Priority One." But, once it ends, and it will, here’s another key question that needs answering. Are we flirting with more such tragedies down the road if we do not soon end our love affair with an industrial, factory-style model of meat production?  Six years ago,  Dr. Margaret Chan (above), then the Director-General of the World Health Organization, delivered this positively prophetic message to an Asian investment conference.  “The industrialization of food production is an especially worrisome trend.  Confined animal feeding operations are not farms any more. They are protein factories with multiple hazards for health and the environment."                                         Photo credit -  Mercy for Animals, Manitob a "These hazards come from the crowding of large numbers of animals in very smal

At least 80 million children under one are at risk of diseases such as diphtheria, measles and polio as COVID-19 disrupts routine vaccination efforts

World Health Organization A WHO photo. Agencies call for joint effort to safely deliver routine immunization and proceed with vaccination campaigns against deadly vaccine-preventable diseases. Story here.

Climate change poses 'lifelong' child health risk

Phys Org It's feared that a changing climate may be providing improved conditions for the mosquito which spreads the zika virus, sometimes responsible for severe brain conditions in infants like this. Climate change will damage the health of an entire generation unless there are immediate cuts to fossil fuel emissions, from a rise in deadly infectious diseases to surging malnutrition, experts warned Thursday. Story here.

More research on African swine fever is urgently needed: No cure, no vaccine and no treatment yet exists for this lethal pig disease

ILRI The swelling around the kidneys & the muscle hemorrhages shown here are typical of pigs with African swine fever. Karen Apicelli - USDA. African swine fever is a highly contagious viral disease affecting domestic and wild pigs. It kills nearly 100% of the pigs it infects. The good news is that the African swine fever virus does not infect or harm humans. The bad news is that it devastates household and national economies. Particularly in Africa and now in China and Vietnam, it can destroy the livelihoods. More here.

A Mysterious Fungal Infection, Spans the Globe in a Climate of Secrecy

The New York Times The Candidida aurus fungus. A CDC image. The rise of Candida auris embodies a serious and growing public health threat: drug-resistant germs. More here. RELATED? The European Union will soon ban a  fungicide - suspected of being  carcinogenic  -  one which remains in apparently widespread use in Canada today.  Ottawa remains silent -    by Larry Powell

A Professor at the University of Saskatchewan (Canada) is calling for the killing of Canada's entire population of wild pigs - by Larry Powell

Dr. Ryan Brook, Associate Professor in the College Agriculture and Bioresources at the University of Saskatchewan . Dr. Ryan Brook says such a drastic and aggressive move would be justified because the animals can carry deadly disease such as African Swine Fever. ASF entered China, the world's largest hog producer, some time ago, forcing major culls of domestic animals there. It is feared the disease could spread to North America and that wild pigs could prove to be carriers and infect commercial swine herds in the US and Canada. It is believed such an eventuality would devastate the pork industry on this continent. Dr. Brook suggests the wild animals could be captured in nets dropped from helicopters, then killed with bolt guns. He claims big ground traps and human ground crews could effectively catch and kill entire groups. Wild pigs in winter. A Pexels photo. He adds, while he respects sports hunters, their methods are not effective at controlling wild hog numbers.

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria widespread in Ontario waterways

Canadian Science Publishing It turns out antibiotic-resistant bacteria are far more ubiquitous than previously thought. A new study published in the  Canadian Journal of Microbiology  tested the prevalence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in four aquatic environments in southern Ontario—and found them everywhere. Story here. RELATED:  " In Hogs We Trust" -   Part 1 - Antibiotic Overuse.

African swine fever (ASF) would be a disaster

There is a ‘clear risk’ the swiftly spreading disease could come here, says leading swine health vet By Alexis Kienlen FOLLOW Reporter Alberta farmer -  February 11, 2019 These red spots are typical of African swine fever.   A Wikimedia photo. There is a real risk that the African swine fever virus could enter Canada — and if it did, it would be catastrophic, says one of the country’s leading swine health experts.

New Canadian research sheds light on how a disease deadly to certain animals, mostly in the wild, is spread. The answer seems to lie beneath their feet!

by Larry Powell It's a terrible ailment called  chronic wasting disease (CWD). A moose in Riding Mountain National Park, Canada. A PinP photo. Canada's Food Inspection Agency describes it as "a progressive, fatal disease of the nervous system of cervids (deer, elk and moose)." It is blamed on a prion , or abnormal protein, which is also linked to mad cow  disease in cattle, scrapie in sheep and CJD in humans. But CWD is the only disease in this group which spreads through the environment. It's been common in North America for years and, to a lesser degree, south Korea. Here in Canada, it has long been ravaging free-roaming animals in Saskatchewan and Alberta. More recently, it has been detected on a farm which raises red deer in Quebec and even among domesticated reindeer in northern Europe. Up 'til now, at least, some experts have considered CWD pretty much unstoppable. But a new study by a team of four researchers at the U

Is Warming Bringing a Wave of New Diseases to Arctic Wildlife?

YaleEnvironment360 Rapid warming and vanishing sea ice in the Arctic has enabled new species, from humpback whales to white-tailed deer, to spread northward. Scientists are increasingly concerned that some of these new arrivals may be bringing dangerous pathogens that could disrupt the region’s fragile ecosystems.  Details here. White-tailed deer feed on hay-bales in Manitoba. A PinP photo.

Drug-resistant microbes could threaten future global economy, low income countries in particular

Journal Club A microbiologist examines the growth of a bacterial culture.  A U.S. Food & Drug Administration photo.  Antimicrobial resistance is not only a major public health threat, but also an economic one, according to researchers at The World Bank. Their new study, published in the journal  World Development , suggests that an increase in drug-resistant microbes could cause millions more people to fall into extreme poverty within the next few decades. “Nobody has estimated the poverty effects before,” says study author Karen Thierfelder, an economics professor at the U.S. Naval Academy and consultant for The World Bank. “We’d like to make more people aware of the problem.” More here. Also Read:  "In Hogs We Trust."   A critique of Manitoba’s “runaway” hog industry. Part 1 - Antibiotic Overuse.

Worries Deepen That Another Deadly Hog Disease May Arrive in Canada

African Swine Fever in China Prompts Call for Review of Biosecurity on Canadian Farms   Farmscape for September 4, 2018 African Swine Fever has now been reported over a vast area in China.   A PinP photo. In light of this, Manitoba Pork is encouraging pork producers to reevaluate biosecurity.   The virus affects pigs of all ages causing high mortality and, while it doesn't affect humans and isn't considered a food safety risk, it is highly transmissible, it is trade limiting and it is federally reportable.   Jenelle Hamblin, the Manager of Swine Health Programs with Manitoba Pork, says the world is a smaller place than it once was with people and products moving in short amounts of time for many reasons. Clip-Jenelle Hamblin-Manitoba Pork:   As a sector we need to be normally aware of the people that are coming onto our premises and where they've been prior to coming but, in the case such as this, it's important to conside

New research confirms the common house fly spreads serious hog diseases. Is Manitoba's factory hog industry dragging its heels?

by Larry Powell The house fly. Photo by  USDA A veterinarian at the Walcott Veterinary Clinic in Iowa, Grant Allison, captured flies at swine operations which had tested positive for both diseases in Iowa and Minnesota. In his words, "Flies replicate in moist conditions that could involve manure. So there's an intimate relationship between manure and viruses and flies. The idea that flies might be a possible vector was immediately obvious. We came up with a plan and started by finding an outbreak and trapping flies to see if the flies were positive." They were. Not only were they carrying live viruses for both diseases, they were spreading them to healthy pigs and making them sick. What's more, the flies were even found to be infectious in January, usually considered the off-season for such harmful vectors. Dr. Allison recommends putting a larvicide in the hog feed as one tool in a program to achieve effective fly-control. He believes an extensive progra

Canadian study finds a pesticide-free way to combat mosquitos and West Nile

UNIVERSITY OF WATERLOO Researchers at the University of Waterloo may have discovered a new, pesticide-free way to limit mosquito populations in some area and reduce the spread of the West Nile virus. Story here. A more detailed version of this study can be found here.

Climate change promotes the spread of mosquito and tick-borne viruses

ScienceDaily The  mosquito that carries the Zeka virus. Scientists find that global warming has allowed disease-bearing insects to proliferate, increasing exposure to viral infections. Story here.

Historical lead exposure may be linked to 256,000 premature deaths from cardiovascular disease in adults in the USA each year

THE LANCET New estimates suggest that 256,000 premature deaths from cardiovascular disease - including 185,000 deaths from ischemic heart disease - in the USA may be linked to historical lead exposure in middle-aged and older adults (people currently aged 44 years or over). This according to an observational study following 14,300 people for almost 20 years, published in  The Lancet Public Health  journal. More here.

In Hogs We Trust - Part 111.

by Larry Powell  (Warning, the words and images in this story are graphic.) We all know that farm animals can get sick. But how many of us are aware of just how damaging animal epidemics can be - whether on the other side of the world or on our own doorstep? They can and do cause huge economic losses and harm to the health of animals and humans, alike. And, there’s ample evidence that, for generations, the model we’ve been using to raise animals in confined, crowded conditions, only magnifies the problems. So why is the Manitoba government    prepared to risk even more of the same by massively expanding pork production in a province with an already-large industry? I hope this part of my series will move you, the reader, to ask, “How much worse must things get, before we change course?”   Losses suffered globally due to diseases of livestock, are staggering. As the Nairobi-based International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) notes, "Some of the most lethal bugs