Saturday, January 29, 2005
the perfect scapegoat
A goat... in France to boot... has been found with mad cow's disease...?!?
Let that be a lesson also to all of those who scoffed and outright mocked the curse of the goat which has plagued... okay, let's say dogged the Chicago Cubs far longer than the dreaded (and now lifted) curse of the Bambino affected the Boston Red Sox (and Boston Bruins too, mind you... but that is another story...).
For contagious details - see comments section.
AFP 28.01.2005 - 19:06
The first case to the world of "spongiform encephalopathy cattle" (ESB) on a goat, detected in France, was confirmed Friday by the European Commission, that nevertheless wanted to be reassuring itself on the eventual risks for the consumers.
An esb case "on a cut down goat in France in 2002 was confirmed today by a panel of scientists", announced Brussels, confirming a given information a little earlier by the French ministry of farming.
The experts, members of the community laboratory for the transmittable spongiform encephalopathies based in Great Britain, thus confirmed the formulated suspicions as early as the month of October by French authorities.
"One knew that the transmission of the esb (to a goat) was possible for tests in laboratory had shown it", explained Philip Tod, spokesperson of the commissioner to Health and the Protection of the consumers, Markos Kyprianou.
"But this is the first time that one detects a concrete case on a goat" in a flock, he specified.
Having been born in 2000, the goat and the remainder of his flock of 300 heads had been cut down in the Gard but came from Ardèche, two departments of the south of France, according to a near source of the file.
The European Commission specified Friday that none of these beasts had entered "in the human food chain or animal".
Globally, the European Executive wanted to sound reassuring, considering that "the infection level by the EAST with the goats seems extremely low and (that an) eventual risk for the consumers is slight". It does not recommend besides "no modification of the current consumption of milk, of cheese and of meat originating goat".
"Measures of destined precautions to protect the consumers... are applied in the European Union - and have been so for a number of years", explained Brussels.
These are beside the tests in place that concerned more than 140.000 goats since April 2002, that allowed "to detect the suspicious animals of manner to be able to withdraw them of food chain", has himself explained Mr. Kyprianou, quoted in the communiqué.
Recalling that the nutrition of the ruminating by means of meat flours and of bones generally was considered as the transmission vector of the esb, the Commission underlined that "the ban to nourish the body of the ruminating with animal flours (had been) extended to all the farm-raised animals" in January 2001.
"In the European Union, the goats do not live generally that many years, so that the majority of the inventoried goats in the E.U. to this day were born after the placement of this total ban".
Brussels proposes nevertheless to intensify the tests to determine if the confirmed case Friday is an isolated incident or not. According to the spokesperson of Mr. Kyprianou, the idea would be to test 200.000 healthy goats in a span of six months, principally in "the member States where the esb is present with the bovine ones".
These additional measures of protection will be submitted for approval to the member States next week. The Commission does not propose on the other hand no special measure on the French exportations of goats, specified the spokesperson.
The delay between the cutting down of the goat and the confirmation of its contamination is explained by the fact that the tests consist of "biological testing on lab mice that lasts up to two years", explained the European Executive.
Three other suspicious cases are currently in last examination phase. The Commission, that does not specify from where exactly these animals come from, expects nevertheless that the results concerning them will be "negative".
A special bonus - the goat story in its original language - in French!
Have fun comparing sentence structure and all that jazz - I used to...
Bruxelles confirme le premier cas au monde de "chèvre folle" en France
AFP 28.01.2005 - 19:06
Le premier cas au monde d'"encéphalopathie spongiforme bovine" (ESB) sur une chèvre, détecté en France, a été confirmé vendredi par la Commission européenne, qui s'est cependant voulue rassurante sur les risques éventuels pour le consommateurs.
Un cas d'ESB "sur une chèvre abattue en France en 2002 a été confirmé aujourd'hui par un panel de scientifiques", a annoncé Bruxelles, confirmant une information donnée un peu plus tôt par le ministère français de l'Agriculture.
Les experts, membres du laboratoire communautaire pour les encéphalopathies spongiformes transmissibles (EST) basé en Grande-Bretagne, ont ainsi confirmé les soupçons formulés dès le mois d'octobre par les autorités françaises.
"On savait que la transmission de l'ESB (à une chèvre) était possible car des tests en laboratoire l'avaient démontré", a expliqué Philip Tod, porte-parole du commissaire à la Santé et la Protection des consommateurs, Markos Kyprianou.
"Mais c'est la première fois qu'on détecte un cas concret sur une chèvre" dans un troupeau, a-t-il précisé.
Née en 2000, la chèvre et le reste de son troupeau de 300 têtes avaient été abattus dans le Gard mais venaient de l'Ardèche, deux départements du sud de la France, selon une source proche du dossier.
La Commission européenne a précisé vendredi qu'aucune de ces bêtes n'était entrée "dans la chaîne alimentaire humaine ou animale".
Globalement, l'exécutif européen s'est voulu rassurant, estimant que "le niveau d'infection par les EST chez les caprins semble (...) extrêmement bas et (qu'un) risque éventuel pour les consommateurs est minime". Il ne recommande d'ailleurs "aucune modification de la consommation actuelle de lait, de fromage et de viande provenant de caprin".
"Des mesures de précaution destinées à protéger les consommateurs (...) sont appliquées dans l'Union européenne depuis plusieurs années", a expliqué Bruxelles.
Ce sont d'ailleurs les tests en place, qui ont porté sur plus de 140.000 caprins depuis avril 2002, qui ont permis "de détecter les animaux suspects de manière à pouvoir les retirer de la chaîne alimentaire", a lui-même expliqué M. Kyprianou, cité dans le communiqué.
Rappelant que l'alimentation des ruminants au moyen de farines de viande et d'os était généralement considérée comme le vecteur de transmission de l'ESB, la Commission a souligné que "l'interdiction de nourrir l'ensemble des ruminants avec des farines animales (avait) été étendue à tous les animaux d'élevage" en janvier 2001.
"Dans l'Union européenne, les caprins ne vivent généralement que quelques années, de sorte que la majorité des caprins recensés dans l'UE à ce jour sont nés après la mise en place de cette interdiction totale", a-t-elle ajouté.
Bruxelles propose toutefois d'intensifier les tests pour déterminer si le cas confirmé vendredi est un incident isolé ou non. Selon le porte-parole de M. Kyprianou, l'idée serait de tester 200.000 caprins sains sur six mois, principalement dans "les Etats membres où l'ESB est présente chez les bovins".
Ces mesures supplémentaires de protection seront soumises pour approbation aux Etats membres la semaine prochaine. La Commission ne propose en revanche aucune mesure particulière sur les exportations françaises de caprins, a précisé le porte-parole.
Le délai entre l'abattage de la chèvre et la confirmation de sa contamination s'explique par le fait que les tests comportaient "un essai biologique sur souris qui demande deux ans", a expliqué l'exécutif européen.
Trois autres cas suspects sont actuellement en dernière phase d'examen. La Commission, qui ne précise pas d'où viennent ces bêtes, s'attend cependant à ce que les résultats les concernant soient "négatifs".
Federal government plays down concerns of health risk from mad cow case
07/01/2005 8:11:00 PM
OTTAWA (CP) - Federal officials are still determining whether any cattle from a herd with a mad cow case made it into the food chain, but they insist the risk to Canadians is minuscule.
The government announced Friday it will start culling cattle next week from an Alberta farm where a case of the disease was confirmed last month. Nine animals on two farms have been quarantined after investigators identified 141 animals - 93 dairy and 48 beef - that were born in the year before through the year after the infected cow was delivered in October 1996.
The investigators are trying to trace all 141 animals.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency said 55 male calves from the dairy group are known to have been delivered to a feedlot and were likely slaughtered before they were two years old. Mad cow disease doesn't start to emerge until a cow has reached at least four years.
Dennis Laycraft of the Canadian Cattlemen's Association said there was virtually no chance of any of those calves surviving past the age of two.
"Those would all have been entered into the feeding system and been processed at a very young age," he said.
Only pedigreed animals would have been kept longer than two years, and records for those animals would have showed up during the agency's investigation, Laycraft said.
"It's pretty much a given in our system that steers are processed at a very young age."
At least one animal, a dairy cow, was exported to the United States.
Ron DeHaven, administrator for the U.S. Agriculture Department's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, said the agency "believes it is extremely unlikely that this imported cow would have been infected.
Nevertheless, DeHaven said the department is making "every reasonable effort to obtain and provide information about the disposition of this animal, as well as any other birth cohorts that are traced to the United States through Canada's epidemiological investigation."
Dr. Paul Mayers of Health Canada's food directorate said that "the likelihood of multiple cases in the same birth cohort is a very rare event."
"The potential entry of those animals into the food supply would, therefore, represent a very low risk potential for an animal carrying the infection into the food supply."
But he added: "We can't say that would be a zero-risk event because zero risk doesn't exist."
Mansel Griffiths, director of the Canadian Research Institute for Food Safety, pointed out that even though there were thousands of mad cow cases in Britain during the 1990s, there are still only about 120 cases of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. That's the fatal brain-wasting illness that is the human version of the disease that can be caught eating infected products.
"From a scientific point of view, the risk to the Canadian population is negligible," Griffiths said.
Mad cow is primarily spread through feed containing infected animal parts. Investigators are looking into what the diseased animal was fed early in its life. It was born 10 months before a ban on feed containing animal remains.
At-risk parts of beef cattle such as brains and spinal cords are now, law, supposed to be eliminated from beef to further minimize the risk to humans.
The first Canadian case of mad cow disease, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), was found in an Alberta cow in May 2003. A subsequent border closure the United States has cost the industry at least $4 billion.
Imports of some packaged beef resumed in the fall of 2003, but it wasn't until last week that the United States said it would resume trade in live animals under 30 months of age on March 7.
The latest infected cow gave birth to two calves in the past two years but both died due to causes unrelated to BSE, said Dr. Gary Little, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency's senior staff veterinarian.
One of the remaining dairy cows from the affected farm came up negative when it was tested as part of a national program last year, he said.
The animals culled next week will be tested quickly and the results posted on the agency website immediately, Little added. Their owners will be eligible for compensation.
"This investigation is moving much faster than the one conducted following the initial case," said Little. "The two situations differ vastly."
Two years ago, investigators lacked specific details about the birthplace and movements of the infected herd and therefore had to cast a wide net, he said.
This time, the location and date of the animal's birth were quickly traced, enabling investigators to target cows clearly linked to the infected animal.
(AP) A man selling chicken and duck in Hanoi, Vietnam waits for customers on Monday, Jan. 24, 2005... it is a hard sell nowadays though - with fowl play being so deadly indeed...
HANOI, Vietnam (AP) - Vietnam reported another bird flu death Friday, bringing the human toll from the virus that spreads mostly from chickens and ducks to humans to 10 so far this month, officials said.
A 32-year-old man from northern Phu Tho province died Thursday after he was admitted five days ago at Bach Mai Hospital in Hanoi with fever, coughing and breathing difficulties, hospital officials said.
The man's family raised poultry, but none of them have shown signs of illness, said Nguyen Dinh Trong, director of Phu Tho provincial Preventive Medicine Center, where the man was first admitted on Jan. 12.
Trong said no bird flu outbreaks have been reported in poultry in the man's home village. The man was involved in the trade of poultry from infected areas six months ago, but had stopped before he was infected, Trong said.
The death is the 10th in Vietnam since Dec. 30, and brings the death toll from bird flu in Vietnam to 30 in the past year.
Officials are bracing for more cases as the Lunar New Year celebrations approach next month, the busiest time of the year for the transport of people and poultry. Amid a larger outbreak last year, Vietnam banned the sale and transport of poultry during the holiday. No bans have been put in place this year.
The World Health Organization has warned that if the virus alters to spread easily from person-to-person, it could spark a global pandemic. However, most human infections have been traced back to contact with sick poultry, and there is no evidence the virus has mutated.
Yes - all Four Horsemen are very much active... and on the job already.
Pest here makes me think of...
A Summary of Pesticide Use
Over 4 billion pounds of pesticides are used worldwide each year.
90% of all pesticides have never been tested for long-term health effects. Less than 1% of the U.S. food supply is tested.
Pesticides may cause cancer, birth defects and numerous health problems.
Each year, over two million people (50,00 cases in the U.S.) suffer pesticide poisoning and over 40,000 die from it.
During the last 40 years, pesticide use increased 1000% while crop loss to insects almost doubled, from 7 to 13%. Insects become resistant, requiring stronger though less effective pesticide applications.
In the U.S., where 50% of the people rely on groundwater, pesticides are found in the groundwater of over half the states.
70% of pesticides banned in the U.S. due to their danger to health and the environment are exported to developing countries and used on food then imported back to the U.S..
Mankind, it seems, can't do anything right...
Even when taking care of a problem, we only succeed in making things worse still - for ourselves as for all denizens -animal, vegetal or mineral- of good ole "mother earth"... hmmpff...
A poll on MSN News.com - last I checked, here was the tally... (no recount required HERE...)
Do you feel optimistic about the next four years of Bush administration?