#AceWorldNews – UNITED STATES (Washington) – July 17 – A congressional panel probing the mishandling of dangerous pathogens at federal laboratories will try to determine if U.S. officials sought to cover up an incident involving deadly avian flu, its Republican chairman said on Tuesday reported Reuters.
Representative Tim Murphy said lawmakers will also look at whether lab workers face adequate “consequences” for failing to follow rules, and consider new legislation if penalties are lacking when actions endanger the public.
“Is it lax adherence to protocol? Are people ignoring protocol? Do they have this sense of mastery because they’ve been doing it so long,” said Murphy, who chairs the House Energy and Commerce Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee.
The CDC has been engulfed in controversy since last month when officials revealed that 84 lab workers had potentially been exposed to live anthrax bacteria at its Atlanta campus.
The public health agency later disclosed the discovery of vials containing smallpox at a National Institutes of Health facility outside Washington.
This bad boy has W.H.O worried
Two of the health care workers who treated a MERS patient in Florida have come down with respiratory symptoms, and are being tested to see if they may have caught the mysterious virus from him, hospital officials say.
In at least one of the cases it’s almost certain not to be MERS — the staffer started showing symptoms just a day after treating the patient, who’s the second person to be diagnosed with MERS in the United States. The incubation period for MERS — meaning the time it takes from contacting someone who’s infected to showing the first symptoms — is usually about five days. “We want to be extra cautious,” said Dr. Antonio Crespo, infectious disease specialist and chief quality officer for the P. Phillips Hospital in Orlando. “These two people were in contact with the patient without a mask.”
Video via: Mary Greeley
One of the staffers was treated and sent home, and the other is in a special isolation room at the hospital, like the MERS patient is. Health care workers who treat patients with the virus are the most likely to become infected themselves, probably because of the close contact. Crespo said 20 health care workers at two hospitals who may have been exposed to the virus are keeping themselves isolated at home and being regularly tested for MERS.
The MERS patient, a 44-year-old health care worker from Saudi Arabia, was visiting family in Orlando when he became ill enough to visit the emergency room on May 8. He’s been in the hospital since May 9 and has been kept isolated under special conditions ever since doctors suspected he might have MERS.
Middle East respiratory syndrome virus (MERS) is on the rise, especially in Saudi Arabia. It’s infected more than 500 people since it was first identified in 2012, spread to 16 countries, and killed about a quarter of its victims. The World Health Organization has been holding a special meeting about the outbreaks and was expected to issue a new report on Wednesday.
The first U.S. patient with MERS, also a health care worker who had been working in Saudi Arabia, has gone home after treatment in an Indiana hospital. Doctors say the risk to the general public is very low. MERS is not terribly infectious. Studies of those who have become infected show they were usually in close and prolonged contact with a victim. But it’s a new virus, and very deadly compared to something like the flu, so doctors want to err on the side of caution.
Health detectives are tracking down everyone who flew on four flights with the MERS patient, from Saudi Arabia to London, then to Boston, Atlanta and Orlando. The trouble with treating any respiratory virus is they all have similar symptoms — fever, cough, body aches. And people get these viruses all the time. it takes about two days to test for something specific like MERS. If MERS is suspected, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises hospitals to just act as if it were MERS. So patients are being kept in special isolation rooms, with strict hygiene procedures. “When we go and visit the patient — I went this morning — I have to wear a special mask called an N-95 (respirator). I have to wear a gown and gloves. Once we get out of the room we dispose of everything,” Crespo told reporters.
The MERS patient also visited a second hospital, the Orlando Regional Medical Center. Officials at the P. Phillips Hospital are not precisely sure why — he didn’t go to seek treatment, they say — but to be extra sure, they’ve asked five hospital staff who were in contact with him to stay home for 14 days, get tested for MERS and stay away from other people. But because he did not feel well, the patient didn’t travel around the region and mostly stayed home, doctors said. He did not go visit any tourist attractions in Orlando.
White House press secretary Jay Carney said President Obama had been briefed on the two cases.
Dr. Ken Michaels of the Florida Department of Health in Orange County says hospitals should prepare for cases like this. “I don’t think we have seen the last of this,” he told reporters. “We are going to see more travel from this part of the world.” With a surge of cases in Saudi Arabia, people are sure to carry the virus on trips with them, Michaels said — something that CDC and World Health Organization officials have also said. Both of the men who carried MERS to the U.S. worked in hospitals where MERS patients were treated — one in Jeddah, one in Riyadh. There’s no specific treatment for MERS. Patients get what’s called supportive care — intravenous fluids, oxygen or a breathing tube if needed, and pain medications.
#AceWroldNews – GEORGIA – April 29 – Authorities in Georgia are searching for the gunman who opened fire inside a Georgia FedEx building Tuesday, injuring six, MyFoxAtlanta.com reported.
According to crews on the scene, authorities have secured the entire area to safely search and apprehend the suspect. The injuries were considered minor to serious, the station reported. Hundreds of law enforcement officers are at the facility, which is in the town of Kennesaw, located in Cobb County, north-west of Atlanta.
A bomb team from the FBI is on the scene and assisting in the investigation.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that six people were taken to WellStar Kennestone Hospital and more are expected.
Ace Related News:
1. Fox Atlantic – April 29 – http://tinyurl.com/mtrfhtn
2. Well Star – April 29 – http://tinyurl.com/n4r8myd
#AceWorldNews says “Three Thousand Seven Hundred `US Flights Cancelled’ due to Snow and Ice”
Airlines cancelled more than 3,700 flights in the US for Thursday, as freezing precipitation moved over major airports in Philadelphia, Washington, DC, and New York, AP reported. A total of about 775 flights were canceled at Atlanta – the world’s busiest airport – as the remnants of a snow and ice storm move across the area.
On Wednesday, more than two-thirds of all scheduled flights to and from Atlanta were cancelled.
Anthony Gray did what almost all of the 6,000 or so homeless people in Atlanta had to do Monday, as temperatures plunged to a record 6 degrees F.: He made a decision to possibly save his own life, or at least his fingers and toes, from the polar vortex.
A person who says he likes his own space, which means often sleeping by himself outdoors, Mr. Gray decided to seek shelter with the multitudes clustering around community hearths amid a dangerous, even deadly, Arcticcold wave that weather experts said had the potential of freezing bare skin with only 15 minutes of exposure.
“All the homeless people ran for their lives, and I did, too!” says Gray, who took sanctuary in county-run Grady Hospital, which cares for the city’s poor. “I’d never seen it so cold in the South.” he said.
As temperatures finally floated above freezing on Thursday, those who live in a part of the country unaccustomed to minus wind chills reflected on a dangerous few days that plunged Southern cities with vulnerable homeless people from Austin to Atlanta into a historic cold.
To be sure, the chill took its toll: Two people died in the Atlanta area from exposure, part of a cohort of some 21 people across the US who died for reasons connected in some way to the frigid weather.
Comparatively, however, only a few who perished could be considered chronically homeless, even though those folks are arguably the most cold-vulnerable group of Americans, with as many as 800,000 of them sleeping outside on any given night.
That suggests to some that many Americans showed particular, though perhaps not unexpected, concern for the less fortunate in a cold snap that exposed so many already-vulnerable citizens to weather that was, as Weather Channel meteorologist Kevin Roth told NBC News, “[It is cold enough to take your breath away}”
State emergency officials said they were on high alert as the dense mass of polar cold air approached last weekend. Yet in the end, not a single Georgia municipality requested help from the Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA), which mostly gave warnings and updates on the “weather event” as it proceeded into the midweek.
- Another polar vortex could be on its way(weather.aol.com)
- Homelessness in Winter Cold(indybay.org)
- Homeless seek sanctuary as ‘polar vortex’ freezes parts of US and Canada(euronews.com)
- #Homeless become tourists? in Waikiki, HI during winter #migration(vermonthomeless.wordpress.com)
- Image: Titan’s sunlit edge(phys.org)